Injured mountain biker rescued after crashing Saturday

Monument Valley Arizona with evening sunset skies

WASHINGTON COUNTY — A mountain bike crash in the Green Valley Loop trail near St. George left a woman injured and lost until rescuers used GPS from the victim’s cell phone to find her Saturday afternoon.

At approximately 12:30 p.m. the St. George Communications Center received a call from a woman reporting she was injured and lost after crashing her mountain bike while riding the Green Valley Loop, Washington County Search and Rescue Liaison Darrel Cashin said.

The Washington County Search and Rescue Team was immediately dispatched to the area, the deputy said, and coordinated the rescue from a location near the overlook at Green Valley.

Using GPS coordinates provided by the injured woman’s cell phone, the team was able to pinpoint an area close to the woman, he said, and the search and rescue EMS team set out toward the Bear Claw Poppy Trail area to find her.

“We always send the guys out in pairs,” Cashin said, “it’s safer that way, and a larger search area can be covered.”

During that time the team made their way to the injured woman, assisted by a ranger with the Bureau of Land Management who cut through a fence to allow rescuers to continue on the fastest route.

Rescuers then located the woman near the location provided by the GPS coordinates, Cashin said, but discovered she was down a steep embankment at the bottom of the canyon.

“The road down was rough,” he said, “very very rough.”

The team finally reached the injured rider after taking the off-road vehicles down very steep terrain, Cashin said, and gave the dehydrated woman water while assessing her injured shoulder. When the woman was stabilized and hydrated, rescuers drove her out of the canyon on an ATV and returned to the command post at the Overlook at Green Valley. Her damaged mountain bike was loaded in another off-road vehicle.

An ambulance was waiting to transport the woman to the hospital, but she declined and told the emergency medical personnel that she would seek medical attention when she returned to her residence in northern Utah. Shortly after she was taken to her vehicle and left on her own, the deputy said.

The rider made some critical decisions right after the crash, Cashin said, that possibly saved her life.

First, she attempted to make it out of the canyon on her own, but quickly realized she was out of water, injured, and lost. So instead of continuing the search she found cell phone reception and called 911.

“Then, the woman stayed put,” Cashin said, “making it much easier to locate her.”

That was a critical move on the rider’s part, because she was located using the GPS coordinates from her cell phone, he said. If the injured rider would have continued moving to different locations or was still trying to get out of the area on her own, it would have made locating her extremely difficult.

Preventing over-exertion was also important, he said, as well as protecting the shoulder injury by limiting movement.

It’s really hot out there,” Cashin said, “and that can be very dangerous, and dehydration can set it quickly.”

A statement was published on Washington County Search and Rescue Facebook page that reads:

2 rescues in 2 days. Both heat related. 1 was so dehydrated it required life flight. It is hot out there. Be prepared and be careful out in the heat.

Search and rescue —or SAR— teams in Utah are run under the umbrella of county sheriff’s offices. While there may be sheriff’s deputies who serve on SAR teams, many of the team members are volunteers.

The Washington County SAR team is currently composed of 73 members, 72 of which are volunteers. The only paid member on the team is Deputy Darrell Cashin who serves as the Washington County Sheriff’s Office SAR liaison.

Green Valley Loop Trail is over 10 miles long, primarily used for mountain biking, and located near St George.

The Bearclaw Poppy Trail is a single-track that lies southwest of St. George, and joins Green Valley near Bloomington Hill.

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

Email: cblowers@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.

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7 Comments

  • Proud Rebel July 17, 2016 at 7:43 pm

    Our SAR teams are a wonderful asset to our locals and visitors alike. There’s got to be a special place in heaven reserved for these folks who do this type of volunteer work.
    I do wonder though, who pays the cost for these rescues. I realize that the SAR team members are volunteers, and are using their own gear. But are they reimbursed anything for their out of pocket expenses? Is there any reimbursement to the county for Deputy Cashin’s hours while he is on these rescues? And who pays for the helicopters and ambulances that may or may not actually do a patient transport out of these situations?
    I would really like to know the answers to these questions. Perhaps someone from SG News might be interested in finding out, and doing an article on it.

  • PiousInquisitor July 17, 2016 at 8:37 pm

    Sounds likes she when down at the section if trail called ‘the three fingers of death’. Lol.

  • knobe July 18, 2016 at 8:56 am

    For some reason it seems like this generation has spawned some “athletes” who need to push the edge & constantly be on the brink of death .

    Rather than mastering some sport like ice skating or gymnastics , they need to be staring down death .
    Does make me wonder what kind of trauma birthed this insanity .

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