Petersburg’s emergency personnel responded to a remote area on June 7th after receiving an emergency call at approximately 8 a.m. They were told that a man in his mid-50s was experiencing stroke symptoms at Blind River Rapids, a salmon fishing area about 14 miles south of town. 

The Petersburg Police Department dispatched the Fire Department and EMS to mile 14 on Mitkof Highway. They found the patient stuck on a small island, which was across a creek at the base of the main trail — or, about a quarter mile away from the parking lot. 

Petersburg Volunteer Fire Department spokesman Dave Berg said the area was far too remote for them to reach the patient. The had to send out five members of Petersburg’s Search and Rescue team to bring the man to safety. 

“About five people actually assisted him to roll them back across the riverbed and to the waiting stretcher,” said Berg.

After they loaded the patient into a rolling stretcher, Search and Rescue had to wade through fast-moving water that went up to their knees. Berg said the team was lucky they arrived during low tide otherwise they might have needed a helicopter. The patient was then transported up the Blind River Rapids boardwalk to the ambulance, and driven to the Petersburg Medical Center.

The Petersburg Police Department received the call for help by phone. But Berg wants to remind the public that there is another way to get help when your phone can’t lock on a cell tower. 

“Communications are pretty difficult out there,” said Berg. “But I would remind people that if you are in a difficult situation, it is possible to communicate with 911 Dispatch by texting 911. Oftentimes, that text will go through when a call won’t go through.”

Berg thanked all of the volunteers who came out to help on a moment’s notice — as well as their employers, who allow them to leave work when there is an emergency. He also said the Fire Hall is always looking for volunteers.