French Tourist Rescued from Seven Rila Lakes by Bulgarian Military Helicopter

Incidents | May 25, 2024, Saturday // 12:18|  views

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Yesterday, a "Cougar" helicopter crew was dispatched to the Seven Rila Lakes area to assist a seriously injured individual. The crew successfully located the victim and airlifted him to St. George Hospital in Plovdiv, where he is receiving treatment for multiple injuries.

Operating under challenging weather conditions, the "Cougar" helicopter took off from the Krumovo air base at 5:09 p.m. and returned at 6:47 p.m., as reported by the Ministry of Defense press center.

The injured party, identified as a 39-year-old French national, is reported to be in stable condition despite sustaining multiple fractures. While his life is not currently at risk, medical professionals are attending to his injuries and ensuring his condition remains stable.

The incident occurred yesterday, with a passerby hearing cries for help emanating from the Kidney Lake vicinity shortly before noon. The individual promptly notified emergency services via phone at 112 and alerted personnel at the Seven Rila Lakes area.

Emil Pavlov from the Mountain Rescue Service in Dupnitsa responded to the distress call:

"The fog was dense, severely limiting visibility to about 5-10 meters. I shouted back in the direction of the faint cries, attempting to discern their origin. Due to the faintness of the sounds and the disorienting effect of the fog, it appeared as though they were coming from the direction of Chochov peak. I proceeded in that direction, but as I ascended, the cries became increasingly faint."

After an extensive search effort, the injured tourist was located by a mountain rescuer on a slope at the base of the peak. Subsequently, a team of around a dozen personnel from the PSS detachment in Dupnitsa was dispatched to the accident site, which posed significant accessibility challenges.

Emil Pavlov, Dupnitsa Hospital, recounted the victim's condition:

"He sustained injuries to both arms, one leg, head trauma, back injuries, and abdominal pain. Additionally, he was suffering from hypothermia. He had attempted a climb on the slope of Chochov peak and fell from a height of approximately 30 meters, a remarkable feat of survival considering the severity of the fall."

Due to the victim's critical condition, the decision was made to request assistance from a military helicopter to facilitate his transport to a medical facility.

"We were incredibly fortunate that the fog lifted momentarily as we prepared for transport. Throughout the day, thick fog had shrouded the area, but just as we were preparing for evacuation, the fog dissipated briefly, enabling the helicopter team to navigate beneath the low clouds and successfully airlift the casualty," explained Emil Pavlov, Dupnitsa Hospital.

The injured Frenchman was admitted to the Saint George University Hospital in Plovdiv for treatment.

"He was airlifted by a military helicopter from the Krumovo airbase under extremely adverse weather conditions. Upon arrival, Plovdiv was experiencing heavy rain and hail. The patient underwent neurosurgical treatment for spinal injuries and trauma and is currently in stable condition," detailed Assoc. Dr. Kiril Atliev, head of the Emergency Department at "St. George" Hospital - Plovdiv.

Due to the severity of his fractures, the injured man will undergo further surgical procedures, according to the hospital.

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Tags: injured, Rila Lakes, helicopter, hospital

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