4 rescues in 24 hours keep search and rescue running

Washington County Search and Rescue and Intermountain Life Flight on Guacamole Trail to rescue injured rider, Washington County, Utah, April 2, 2017 | Photo courtesy of Darrell Cashin, St. George News

WASHINGTON COUNTY — Four separate rescues in 24 hours kept Washington County Search and Rescue teams busy, starting with a pelvic fracture Saturday afternoon and ending with two wrist fractures on an 11-year-old tourist on the first day of her family vacation.

A man injured during a motorcycle crash near Sand Mountain is treated by Hurricane Valley EMS before he is transported to the hospital Saturday, Washington County, Utah, April 2, 2017 | Photo courtesy of Darrell Cashin, St. George News

Rescue No. 1 

The first rescue began at 2 p.m. Saturday when a man called 911 reporting a motorcycle crash in the area of Sand Mountain, Washington County Search and Rescue Liaison Darrell Cashin said.

Two rescue teams were sent to search for the injured 27-year-old rider, along with Hurricane Valley EMS and Utah State Parks personnel, Cashin said.

Once located EMS personnel treated the injured rider who appeared to have “possibly sustained a pelvic fracture,” the deputy said, and was unable to move and in a great deal of pain.

The man was riding on a dirt road just east of Sand Mountain, and crashed after losing control of his motorcycle, he said, while a family member called 911.

Hurricane EMTs drove the man to a waiting ambulance that transported him to Dixie Regional Medical Center for treatment.

Rescue No. 2

Intermountain Life Flight transports man injured while riding his mountain bike on Guacamole Trail, Washington County, Utah, April 2, 2017 | Photo courtesy of Darrell Cashin, St. George News

Just as emergency personnel were returning from the first rescue another call came in reporting that a 66-year-old man crashed while riding his mountain bike on Guacamole Trail, Cashin said, and injured his knee to the point that he was no longer able to continue.

Two teams from the Washington County Search and Rescue, along with officers from the Bureau of Land Management and Hurricane Valley Fire and EMS started out to locate the injured rider.

As rescuers were making their way to the area the injured man called into dispatch and asked if a helicopter could be launched to transport him to the hospital. Within minutes Intermountain Healthcare’s Life Flight was dispatched to the area as well.

The ground team reached the man and were assessing his injuries when the rider told them that he thought he tore a ligament or suffered a knee fracture in the crash. While EMT’s initiated treatment a landing zone was set up for the air transport, Cashin said, and once Life Flight landed the rider was transported to Dixie Regional Medical Center for evaluation.

“The main reason he was transported by air was due to the remote location he was in, so a ground transport would have been very difficult,” Cashin said.

Rescue No. 3

Meanwhile, another call was received at the St. George Communications Center from a man reporting that his Chevrolet Suburban became stuck in the mud hours earlier and that his 78-year-old mother was still inside of the vehicle, the deputy said.

A Washington County Search and Rescue westbound team was dispatched to that call while the eastbound team continued the rescue of the mountain bike rider, Cashin said.

The driver and his mother were traveling on General Steam Road near Veyo when the vehicle became stuck in more than 4-inches of mud, the deputy said. After the heavy rainfall days earlier, many of the roads were thick with mud and difficult to navigate.

The driver had no cell service in that area and started hiking out towards Enterprise Reservoir, while his mother remained in the vehicle waiting for help. After walking nearly 8 miles, the man was picked up by a passerby who drove him the rest of the way to the reservoir, Cashin said.

The rescue team located the stranded Suburban and found the woman still waiting inside.

“It was nearly 9 p.m. by the time the team arrived at the Suburban, so she was waiting for hours even as darkness fell,” Cashin said, “so she was frightened by the time rescuers arrived.”

After checking on her condition, several rescuers took her to Enterprise Reservoir to pick up her son while rescuers stayed back to pull the vehicle from the mud and drive it to drier ground.

“The guys were saying that mud was sticking to everything,” Cashin said. “There was 4 inches of mud caked to their shoes, tires and equipment, which made this rescue more difficult.”

Once the group returned to the SUV the driver told rescuers he was apprehensive about driving back to the reservoir because of the soggy road conditions, Cashin said, so one of the team members drove the Suburban, while the driver and his mother followed in the rescue vehicle. Once on drier ground the duo departed in their vehicle, uninjured and on their way home, the deputy said.

Rescue No. 4

Shortly after 2 p.m. Sunday the search and rescue team was again called out, this time to an incident involving an 11-year-old girl who was injured after crashing her mountain bike on the Stucki Springs Trail located southwest of St. George in the Bearclaw Poppy reserve.

The girl was riding with her parents while visiting St. George from Canada, Cashin said.

“It was the first day of their vacation.”

The team, which comprised 10 rescue personnel including several advanced EMTs and a doctor, made their way to where the injured rider was located using GPS coordinates. However, the doctor set off on his mountain bike to reach the injured rider sooner.

“We pushed hard to get to her as quickly as we could,” Cashin said, “because she was young and in a lot of pain while her parents could do nothing but wait out in the desert.”

Upon arrival they found the girl awake and conscious, and the doctor determined that both wrists were fractured and that she sustained other minor injuries as well. The fractures were quickly splinted, and she was driven by rescuers to the incident command center set up on Navajo Road near Bloomington.

A short time later the family was on their way to Dixie Regional Medical Center for treatment, Cashin said.

Simultaneous rescues  

Washington County Search and Rescue is composed of six teams that include an eastbound team, westbound team, a high angle team, swift water team, a dive team and a medical team.

Intermountain Life Flight transports man injured while riding his mountain bike on Guacamole Trail, Washington County, Utah, April 2, 2017 | Photo courtesy of Darrell Cashin, St. George News

“We are one Search and Rescue but have six separate teams,” Cashin said, “which allows us to handle multiple searches simultaneously.”

This structure also provides the best care for those rescued, he said, because there is basic and advanced EMT care, in addition to a doctor who either consults on a rescue or goes with the team.

This report is based on preliminary information provided by law enforcement or other emergency responders and may not contain the full scope of findings.

The Washington County Sheriff’s Office, Washington County Search and Rescue, Hurricane Valley Fire District and EMS, the Bureau of Land Management, Utah State Parks, Intermountain Life Flight, St. George Fire Department and Gold Cross Ambulance responded and assisted.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.


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