Yukon North Of Ordinary

News archive for February 6, 2014

Woman survives near-fatal mishap

A woman nearly froze to death in Pelly Crossing early Tuesday morning before a neighbour heard her cries for help and called 911.

By Christopher Reynolds on February 6, 2014 at 3:23 pm

A woman nearly froze to death in Pelly Crossing early Tuesday morning before a neighbour heard her cries for help and called 911.

The area’s RCMP detachment commander said today the woman, in her mid-30s, “was trying to walk somewhere in the snow” at around 3:30 a.m. in temperatures as low as -36 C.

“She was extremely cold and in distress in a person’s backyard,” Cpl. Josh Wiese told the Star.

The woman tried to climb a fence, fell and did not get up, he said.

“At some point in time, she cried out for help and a neighbour heard.”

The man phoned police, and an emergency health services crew took her to the Pelly Crossing health clinic for severe hypothermia and frostbite.

“We were very lucky that she was found when she was,” Wiese said.

Alcohol consumption likely contributed to her behaviour, he added.

Later that morning, the woman, whose name hasn’t been released, was evacuated to Whitehorse General Hospital.

She is receiving treatment for “serious but non-life-threatening injuries,” Wiese said.

Val Pike, a hospital spokesperson, said early this afternoon the woman is in stable condition with frostbite to both feet and the tip of her nose.

“If the frostbite is severe enough, it means that the tissue’s dead,” Pike said.

“On something like your nose, there could be some damage, and on your extremities, there could be severe damage if it’s bad enough.”

Pike said a doctor may need to perform debridement — removal of the unhealthy skin and tissue so healing can occur.

“At this time, it’s too early for us to speculate where she was going or where she was coming from,” Wiese said.

He said no foul play was suspected, but asked Yukoners to open their doors to people — even if they appear intoxicated — in potentially life-threatening weather.

“When it’s -36 C, let them in. Then phone us.

“To turn someone away in this kind of weather ... it does happen, though that wasn’t the case here,” Wiese said.

“Look out for your friends and family, phone EHS, and we’ll always be there.”

One RCMP officer and a two-person emergency health crew attended the scene.

Two police officers, two ambulance attendants and one nurse are on call throughout the night in Pelly Crossing.

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