Injured on the wildfire lines, an air ambulance saved his life. Now he wants to fly one

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When Francois Brisbois headed retired to activity 1 twelvemonth agone connected Monday, he had nary thought really adjacent he would travel to decease — aliases that nan ensuing rescue mightiness alteration nan people of nan remainder of his life.

Brisbois was portion of a statement unit called successful to region vulnerable trees successful nan aftermath of a wildfire supra Vancouver Island’s Cameron Lake connected June 10, 2023.

He was earnestly injured, requiring a chopper medivac erstwhile a conception of nan steep slope he was moving connected gave out.

 'More firefighters connected nan measurement to thief conflict nan Cameron Bluffs wildfire'

2:34 More firefighters connected nan measurement to thief conflict nan Cameron Bluffs wildfire

“Things went sideways, I ran successful nan incorrect guidance arsenic acold arsenic I could, and by nan clip I turned astir and looked towards wherever nan trees were they were each coming astatine me,” he said.

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“I was deed by 2 things, a larger portion laterally connected my correct broadside and a smaller branch benignant of brushed disconnected my helmet, took my receptor disconnected and brushed my shoulder.”

The injuries were severe. Brisbois was near pinch 14 surgery ribs, a collapsed lung, 4 cracked vertebrae, a level 2 tear connected his correct enarthrosis and a surgery scapula.

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“Had I been six inches to nan right, astir apt that would person taken my spine out. Six inches to nan near and that branch would person taken my cervix out. It was a crippled of inches.”

A cardinal portion of nan squad that reduced Brisbois was nan BC Emergency Health Services captious attraction aerial ambulance unit operating retired of Parksville.

 'B.C. launches caller aerial ambulance fleet'

1:44 B.C. launches caller aerial ambulance fleet

“A telephone for illustration Francois’ telephone you retrieve for nan remainder of your life,” said Trent Lemke, proprietor of aerial ambulance contractor Ascent Helicopters.

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Ascent’s guidelines was conscionable 9 minutes from nan mishap site, and crews were capable to stabilize Brisbois and shuttle him quickly to infirmary successful Victoria.

“We ever promote our guys to deliberation of nan positives, and this is simply a positive,” Lemke said.

“The injuries were terrible and we’re truthful happy that it had a affirmative outcome, particularly for a young man.”

What nan rescue unit didn’t cognize is that Brisbois himself is nary alien to nan pilot’s seat.

“Unbeknownst to everyone progressive that day, I americium a chopper aviator that has been distant from nan controls and manufacture for 11 years now. This life-altering acquisition has renewed my passion for aviation,” Brisbois wrote successful a missive of acknowledgment to nan Ascent and paramedic crews.

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“To repay my gratitude for nan life-saving services I received that fateful day, I intend to find my measurement backmost astatine nan controls of a chopper and hopefully alert for BCHES  Air Ambulance work 1 day.”

On Tuesday, Brisbois had nan chance to springiness his acknowledgment successful person.

 'Hikers rescued by chopper from raging blaze successful Southeastern B.C.'

2:10 Hikers rescued by chopper from raging blaze successful Southeastern B.C.

Brisbois told Global News that without nan swift involution of nan aircrews, “The result could person been wholly different.”

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With a twelvemonth of betterment now down him, he said WorkSafeBC has fixed him nan all-clear to return to activity — though his enarthrosis wounded intends he won’t beryllium capable to activity arsenic a character faller anymore.

He’s now mounting his sights connected retraining and re-certifying arsenic a chopper pilot.

“I decidedly miss flying and erstwhile it’s successful your humor it’s difficult to look distant from it,” he said. “And nan 2nd part, astir apt nan biggest, is to salary it back, salary it forward.”

Lemke said he was thrilled to perceive really nan incident had reignited Briosbois’ passion for nan skies.

And he suggested location whitethorn good beryllium a spot for him down nan controls successful nan future.

“He’s really superior astir becoming portion of nan programme besides moving forward, which is great,” he said.

“The programme is connected an description mode, nan state is putting a batch of money into emergency services.”

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