by A21 Reporter Andy Clems
Virgil Tracy has been hailed as a hero once again for his role in the rescue of a young boy lost on a hazardous mountain trail.
The boy, one Jason Smith, was reported missing by his parents in the early hours of Friday morning. His father stated, “Jason often goes off on his own, he knows the trail like the back of his hand. It’s rare for him to be home in much more than half an hour, but after an hour and a half we started to get worried and called the authorities.”
Jason’s mother explained the situation was more serious than it first appeared saying, “Our son has a rare condition that requires regular injections to keep him alive. Once we realized he was overdue, we checked his room and found his medicine. He must have forgotten to take it with him, or thought that he wouldn’t be gone long enough to need it.”
With time running out fast, an emergency call was transmitted to International Rescue. Chief Matt Brody of the Mountain Rescue Unit explained, “Normally our team could handle something like this, but with such a critical time factor, we didn’t want to take any chances. International Rescue were the obvious choice.”
John Tracy relayed details of the call to Thunderbird 2, returning from another mission, and Virgil diverted the craft to the danger zone. On arrival, Virgil loaded rescue gear and a supply of the life-saving medicine onto his hover-bike and proceeded rapidly along the hiking trail. Scanning the area with the latest of Brains’ detection gear, it wasn’t long before Virgil found himself veering off the main path and down a steep incline leading towards a crevasse.
Virgil recalled, “The detector was registering a definite heat signature, and I could see marks and streaks in the soil as if someone had rolled or fallen towards the crevasse.”
Reaching the hazard, Virgil switched on his powerful torch and shone it down between the jagged rock faces, calling out Jason’s name. To his relief, the boy answered and as Virgil shifted his position, he could see Jason stretched out on a ledge about 20 feet down. Quickly assembling a harness and rigging it to an auto-descender, Virgil inched his way down the crevasse to check on Jason’s injuries.
Despite a few superficial cuts and bruises and a sprained ankle, he wasn’t badly hurt. Virgil administered the medicine and carefully winched Jason to safety, arriving back at the Mountain Rescue base a short while later. Jason declared, “He saved my life, International Rescue are the best!”