“That beacon really cut down on the amount of time that Pat would have been out there. He was able to communicate immediately that Pat would not be able to hike out.”– Liz McQuaide, Wife of Skier Patrick McQuaide.
This story from the White Mountains of New Hampshire is another example of why you should be prepared if you enter the backcountry. Patrick McQuaide was snowboarding this month in the Great Gulf. He fell hundreds of feet in the Turkey Shoot route, smashing his helmet in the process and becoming unconscious. An interaction with another backcountry skier at the Great Gulf, an avalanche backpack that helped break the fall, a first aid kit, and a beacon helped save his life.
CBS Boston spoke to both sides to describe their experience in the harrowing situation. Jon Dwyer, a 33-year-old backcountry skier, talked with Patrick while he was taking some videos of the Great Gulf. The crash happened shortly after, and Jon was quick to respond. After skiing down, Jon witnessed Patrick fall several hundred feet down the slope. After rushing over to him, Patrick regained consciousness within a minute. Jon then used the GPS signal from his SOS Beacon he had bought the day before to alert rescuers of the situation. With the beacon, Jon was also able to text rescuers that Patrick had broken multiple bones and needed assistance. Another skier came over to help Patrick and used his first aid kit to stabilize Patrick. In spite of Jon’s rapid response, it still took two hours for the National Guard to reach them. Patrick got transported to Dartmouth Hitchcock, where work towards his recovery began.
Patrick and Jon recently spoke for the first time since the accident, in what could become a lifelong friendship. Last Wednesday, Patrick McQuaide left the ICU and is now at a rehab center to continue his recovery. He and his wife are expecting a child this summer.
Image/Video Credits: CBS Boston