Youth group discovers man in critical condition in Flanders forest
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Youth group discovers man in critical condition in Flanders forest

A man was discovered in critical condition on a bunker on the top of a 10 meter tall hill in a forest in Stekene in east Flanders on Sunday afternoon. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Members of a youth group discovered on Sunday afternoon a man on the roof of an old bunker in a forest in Stekene in East Flanders.

Upon discovering the man, surrounded by some empty bottles of alcohol and painkiller containers, in a forest in Stekene on IJzerhandstraat, the youth group called the emergency services at around 3:20 PM.

The Mobile Emergency Group (MUG) which deals with individuals in critical condition arrived on the scene. The MUG doctor determined that the man was in critical condition and had to be transferred immediately to the hospital.

However, due to the challenging conditions of the steep and slippery surrounding area, firefighters from the RED team of the Waasland rescue zone had to be called to the scene. The RED team specialise in rescue in places that are difficult to reach.

“The man was on top of a ten-meter hill,” said leader of the RED team operation, Philip Zaman, according to Nieuwsblad.

To reach the hill, the rescuers had to walk two to three hundred meters across a muddy path.

“At that time there were two options. Either a rescue helicopter from Koksijde would carry out an air evacuation, or we would do it ourselves,” Zaman explained.

A rescue helicopter arrived at the scene and lowered someone on to the hill for an inspection. It was decided, however, that a helicopter evacuation was too dangerous due to the dense vegetation and the lack of light. As a result, the firefighters worked to bring the man down from the bunker.

Using a system of ropes and pulleys, the man was eventually lowered from the hill, while the Stekene fire brigade cleared a path, using chainsaws, that lead the rescue mission out of the forest.

“The evacuation was not easy. The condition of the victim was monitored all the time along the way,” Zaman added.

The man was taken to a nearby hospital in critical condition at around 6:00 PM.

A bicycle was found at the entrance to the hill.

Evie McCullough
The Brussels Times