News / Canada

Canadian mayor 'inadvertently saved his own life' with improved ambulance service

Labrador Mayor John Hickey was shot while out alone on the weekend checking rabbit snares; he is in critical but stable condition after 'a very quick response' from local emergency services.

Happy Valley-Goose Bay Mayor John Hickey is showm in this undated handout image. The mayor of Happy Valley Goose Bay is in critical but stable condition in a hospital in St. John's after he was shot in a weekend hunting accident.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Town of Happy Valley-Goose Bay

Happy Valley-Goose Bay Mayor John Hickey is showm in this undated handout image. The mayor of Happy Valley Goose Bay is in critical but stable condition in a hospital in St. John's after he was shot in a weekend hunting accident.

HAPPY VALLEY GOOSE BAY, N.L. — Friends of a Labrador mayor say he somehow got on a snowmobile and reached a nearby highway to flag down help after he was shot in the lower face while hunting.

Mayor John Hickey of Happy Valley-Goose Bay is in critical but stable condition after having surgery Sunday in St. John's.

Provincial Speaker Perry Trimper has known Hickey for 30 years and says the mayor was out alone Saturday with a shotgun checking rabbit snares when he was wounded.

He says it took a superhuman effort for Hickey to reach the road for help, where a passing driver called an ambulance.

Trimper says Hickey has not been able to communicate exactly what happened.

Town councillor Lori Dyson says a candlelit vigil is planned for Tuesday night at the town hall in Happy Valley-Goose Bay.

Trimper said it's not clear how his friend was shot.

"I guess John would be the only one to be able to tell us," he said Monday in an interview. "He enjoys getting into the woods and that's what he was doing."

"He was taken to the hospital right away and had a very difficult night Saturday night. Several of us were there with him through the evening."

Hickey was flown to St. John's on Sunday where he had surgery.

Trimper and his wife Caroline had just spent Friday evening with Hickey and his spouse Peggie Best at an awards ceremony for firefighters.

"We couldn't have had a better evening."

Dyson is part of Hickey's large extended family and said the youngest children know him as "Papa John."

"There's an enormous amount of concern from the community and so many prayers have been sent," she said from Goose Bay.

"It's only speculation of how exactly the accident happened. John is a Labrador man so he was out on the land for sure doing what he loves, hunting and checking his snares and stuff."

"Right now everything is certainly just focused on John's recovery."

Dyson said it was crucial that help arrived so fast. Hickey had recently pushed for better emergency response after public complaints.

"There was a very quick response from the ambulance which is now operated out of the hospital here as opposed to the defunct ambulance service that John was instrumental in getting out of town," Dyson said.

"One of the nurses was saying that John inadvertently saved his own life."

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