December 29, 2013

Woman taken to hospital after Thorndike sledding accident

Injured Seattle woman was towed on a sled behind a Unity Fire Department snowmobile to waiting ambulance.

By Kaitlin Schroeder kschroeder@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

THORNDIKE — A Seattle woman was taken to the hospital after she hit a bump and was thrown from her sled in Thorndike Sunday afternoon.

click image to enlarge

HAZARDOUS FUN: Homeowner Wes Balda, left, walks up an ice and snow covered hill as firefighters load his daughter-in-law Lisa Balda, 33, onto a Unity Fire Department rescue sled at his home in Thorndike on Sunday. Wes Balda said Lisa Balda suffered back and hip injuries after the sled she was on hit a bump and went airborne and crashed at the base of the long hill. She was transported to an area hospital.

Staff photo by David Leaming

Lisa Balda, 33, was lifted on a stretcher on to a rescue sled from the Unity Fire Department, which was towed behind a fire department snowmobile to a nearby ambulance on Files Hill Road, according to her father-in-law, Wes Balda.

Wes Balda said she and his son were visiting for the holidays and sledding down a long hill at his house around noon, when her plastic sled flew off a bump and crashed. She was taken to Sebasticook Valley Health in Pittsfield with a back injury.

Unity Fire Chief Dave Smith said his department assisted the Thorndike Fire Department with their rescue sled because carrying a stretcher to the road across the field would have been difficult in the snow.

“It wasn’t a huge distance, but it would have been a lot more work in the snow conditions,” he said. “This snow has just enough crust where you feel like you’re going to stay on top of it, but then you put your foot on top of it and then you break through.”

He said his department hasn’t used the rescue sled much, particularly in the last few years, because lighter snow conditions have sent people north for snow-related recreation. Northern fire departments use equipment like the rescue sled more frequently, he said.

Smith said fire departments train so they are prepared not just for fires but for a wide range of emergencies, including scenarios like today’s.

“All fire departments can get called any time an emergency isn’t specifically a police department emergency. We don’t always know what we’ll get called to,” he said.

Kaitlin Schroeder — 861-9252kschroeder@centralmaine.com

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