Cumberland Fire Department responded to an overturned van that went off the road at 4th Street. The driver had to be airlifted. Photo supplied

Senior airlifted after van flips in Cumberland

A 73-year-old woman had to be airlifted out to hospital Tuesday following a crash in Cumberland in which her van flipped.

Cumberland Fire Department got the call to respond to the scene near the south end of 4th Street shortly before 3:30 p.m. on Feb. 25.

The exact cause of the accident is not known yet, but the vehicle left the roadway and kept going.

“She went through about 150 feet of brush,” said fire chief Mike Williamson, adding the driver managed not to hit any large trees.

Williamson is not sure whether the woman, whose van was set up to accommodate a wheelchair, might have had a medical issue, simply lost control of her vehicle or there was an equipment malfunction. In any case, the van overturned and ended up on nearby railroad tracks.

“It was quite dangerous because there was fuel leaking,” he said.

The department had to respond quickly to remove the woman from the van.

“It was what we call a rapid extrication. Get her out of there and out of danger as quick as we can,” he said.

The fire department, he said, has a new extrication tool that can help speed up the process in these situations.

“We don’t have to hook up hoses and pumps, and all that kind of stuff,” he added. “We can just go down there with the tools and start working right away.”

READ: Injured mountain biker airlifted from Courtenay

The department set up a landing zone in the nearby park for air ambulance to fly out the woman. Williamson did not know the extent of the woman’s injuries, as he did not conduct the assessment on her, but said the injuries included a serious laceration to the head and possibly a broken collarbone. In any case, these were serious enough to have her transported by air.

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