An 88-year-old man was airlifted to hospital with serious injuries after impaling himself on a broken wine bottle at the West Coast Duty Free store Thursday.

Impaled senior airlifted near U.S. border

An 88-year-old man was airlifted with serious injuries after falling onto a wine bottle while shopping at a South Surrey duty free store.

An 88-year-old man was airlifted to hospital Thursday afternoon, after impaling himself on broken glass when he fell onto a wine bottle at the West Coast Duty Free store in South Surrey.

Store manager John Tompkins said the senior – a resident of the Gulf Islands – was cut in the chest when a bottle “exploded” underneath him after he somehow slipped or tripped while shopping at the 111 176 St. shop, located by the Pacific Highway border crossing.

“Nobody from our staff actually saw what happened,” Tompkins told Peace Arch News shortly after the incident. “I think he just slipped, tripped… simple little tripping accident, but he had a bottle of alcohol in his hand and he landed on the bottle and the bottle smashed.

“Where the cut was was quite bad. We first started administering first aid and realized this is more than what we can handle.”

A B.C. Ambulance Service official said crews were dispatched to the scene at about 1:15 p.m., and that one person was transported to Royal Columbian Hospital with “serious injuries.”

Tompkins, who was one of two staffers to give aid, said the senior was conscious and in good spirits throughout the ordeal. The cut was “right by his lung,” he said.

“He didn’t seem to be in a lot of pain,” Tompkins said. “We had him sitting on a chair and had some gauze on him kind of trying to control the bleeding until the ambulance got here, but it was evident it was way past our means of first aid.”

Paramedics and firefighters were on the scene “within minutes,” he added.

An official update on the man’s condition was not immediately available, however, Tompkins said paramedics at the scene told him “they felt that he was going to be more than fine.”

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