ST. GEORGE – A call to retrieve an injured mountain biker on the Wire Mesa Trail Tuesday afternoon marks the 80th response of the Washington County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue team since the start of the year.
Around 1 p.m., county search and rescue team members were sent to Wire Mesa Trail near Grafton where a mountain biker had crashed and injured his hip, rendering him unable to walk, Washington County Sheriff’s Sgt. Darrell Cashin said.
During a Washington County Commission meeting Tuesday, Cashin cited the incident as just 1 of 11 search and rescue calls the volunteer members of the county’s search and rescue team responded to between Sept. 20 and Oct. 17.
Among the incidents he mentioned was another mountain biker who had crashed while on the Bear Claw Poppy Trail on Sept. 30 and had to be flown out by Intermountain Life Flight. Another incident occurred Oct. 7 and involved an ATV accident on Sand Mountain. The ATV driver sustained head injuries and was also flown to the hospital.
During the call Tuesday, just prior to the commission meeting, search and rescue personnel located the injured cyclist and hiked him out of the area until he was transferred to an off-road utility task vehicle. The UTV took the cyclist the rest of the way to a waiting ambulance that transported him to Dixie Regional Medical Center in St. George.
Combined with the rest of the year’s calls, the Washington County Search and Rescue team has responded to 80 calls thus far in 2017, Cashin said.
Washington County Commissioner Dean Cox, who has been involved with county search and rescue operations in the past, told Cashin that his team was on track to reach 100 calls for the year. It was something Cox said he previously experienced during his time with search and rescue.
“We had that two years ago,” Cashin said, “and I never want to hit that again.”
The Washington County Search and Rescue team responded to 111 calls in 2015.
Increases in tourism and population, as well as periods of favorable weather, are among the reasons given for why search and rescue calls increase during certain times of the year.
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