ST. GEORGE — A man was flown to the hospital with a head injury after reportedly falling 25 feet while rock climbing near Dammeron Valley Saturday.
Emergency personnel, including ground responders and an Intermountain Life Flight crew, were dispatched to the incident after friends of the climber called just after 4 p.m. to report that he was bleeding from his head after falling near Lower Sand Cove Reservoir.
However, en route, responders received another call from the friends saying they weren’t actually sure if they were near Lower Sand Cove Reservoir. After getting descriptions of the area, crews realized the climbers were actually near Upper Sand Cove Reservoir at the Prophesy Wall, a popular climbing route featuring hundreds of feet of sheer rock face.
“Based on the fact that we didn’t have a lot of good information to begin with, it actually delayed the response of everybody,” Washington County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue liaison Sgt. Darrell Cashin said.
Crews turned around to take the four-mile dirt road between reservoirs, delaying their response by 15-20 minutes.
“Life Flight diverted to Upper Sand Cove while everybody else was headed that way,” Cashin said. “They got there first. They landed and their paramedic actually climbed up the side of the hill and got to the victim and started treating him.”
“This is what I was told: He fell about 25 feet, hit his back and then his head smacked the rocks,” Cashin said.
Crews from Washington County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue, Dammeron Valley Fire and Rescue and Santa Clara-Ivins EMS arrived shortly after and stabilized the patient, stopping the bleeding, administered an IV and loaded him onto a Stokes basket.
“He apparently did not go unconscious but was repeating himself a lot, which is a sign of a concussion,” Cashin said, noting that the nature of his injury necessitated that he be flown to the hospital as soon as possible.
The steep scramble up and down the hill to the spot where the man fell created some challenge for responders as they carried the patient to the waiting medical helicopter.
“It was kind of sketchy,” Cashin said. “There’s rocks, there’s boulders, there’s not a clear designed trail and it gets steeper and steeper.”
Crews managed to carry the man to the helicopter where he was flown to Dixie Regional Medical Center for further treatment. At last report, Cashin said he was in stable condition.
“The big thing I’d like to tell people is if you’re going to climb, wear safety gear,” Cashin said. “Hard ground and rocks and heads don’t mix without some sort of protection.”
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