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Drunken night at Big White sends Gondola-jumper to hospital

A man who jumped from Lara
A man who jumped from Lara's Gondola, shown above, was 15-metres in the air when he smashed a window to make the leap.
— image credit: contributed

A drunken skier jumped from the Big White gondola lift on Saturday evening after smashing out a window to make the brazen leap.

The man in his early 20s was said to be very intoxicated and causing problems on the hill when he decided to make a 15-metre jump out of Lara's Gondola, a free service ferrying guests from the Happy Valley Day Lodge, at the base of the resort, to the village centre.

"He collapsed due to his injuries and was taken (to the hospital) by ambulance," said Kelowna RCMP Cpl. Tania Carroll, who confirmed the information police had compiled Monday morning.

The police report stated ski patrol had been chasing the man, who was trying to give them the slip, when he made the fateful jump; but a Big White source not authorized to comment publicly said the patrollers were never involved.

Information from this source indicates the patrol was only contacted an hour after the fact, at approximately 8:30 p.m., when the man's friends and family reported him missing.

Big White Fire Department responded to the first calls for assistance and administered first aid on scene.

"He had injuries to his pelvis," said fire chief Jamie Svendsen, who noted it was, in fact, ski patrollers who helped keep the man warm until an ambulance could reach the resort.

Some of the on-call firefighters are also ski patrol members, so the fire department, via its dual members, contacted the patrol and transported the individual on a backboard with a neck brace to the mountain infirmary where they waited 40-50 minutes for the ambulance to arrive.

An RCMP member, who was said to be at the hill when the incident occurred, was contacted for assistance and the matter is now under police investigation to determine the extent of the damages and whether Big White wants to press charges.

Big White lost its on-site ambulance this year after B.C. Ambulance Service decided the population in the resort did not warrant having a vehicle in town at all times.

Ambulances must now come from Kelowna and it was snowing heavily within the city limits at the time of the incident.

 

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