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Community response helped deal with weekend accident on island that injured four youth


Bill MacMillan has lived on Pictou Island since he was born with the exception of a few years he was away.

But this past weekend’s accident which sent four young people to hospital via a military helicopter was a first on what is typically a quiet island.

MacMillan was home when he heard about the accident and went over right away, but another vehicle had already stopped to help the children so he went home and phoned 911 before heading back down. He said it was about 30 minutes before emergency responders arrived. While they waited he said the residents did what they could to care for the children.

Thankfully, there are people on the island who are trained in first response and they had a refresher course just the week before. He said it was clear the youth were in pain, and they tried their best to care for them.

“We couldn’t do much until the paramedics arrived,” he said.

Because of the size of the military helicopter, it couldn’t land very close to the accident scene so the residents helped the first responders put the injured people on back boards and put them on the back of trucks to take to the place where the helicopter could land.

He believes the community did a great job of coming together to deal with the situation.

While there isn’t a lot of traffic on the island, most people do have vehicles MacMillan said.

Corp. Kevin Dunlevy with the Pictou County RCMP said in the two years that he’s been with the Pictou detachment, he can’t recall any calls and particularly any accidents of this nature happening on Pictou Island.

Because they rarely have problems there, the area is seldom policed. Dunlevy said they typically in the past have had their RCMP boat stop at the dock, but because they don’t have a vehicle over there, they haven’t patrolled the island itself.

Vehicles must be inspected before they go to the island, but those familiar with the island say that many of the vehicles there have expired inspections and no insurance.

Dunlevy said there will be a meeting next week between police and people on the island to talk about the situation and needs there.

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