Life Flight launches for injured mountain bike rider

ST. GEORGE — Air transport was requested after a man was injured in a mountain biking accident near Navajo Road Saturday afternoon.

At 3:30 p.m. St. George Fire and Gold Cross Ambulance were dispatched to a reported mountain bike accident that involved a rider in his 30s with a possible concussion on the Green Valley Bike Loop just east of the Bearclaw Poppy Trailhead, St. George Fire Battalion Chief Robert Hooper said.

Neighbors and bystanders on Navajo Road watching for Life Flight to take off after mountain bike rider is injured near the Green Valley Loop Saturday afternoon in St. George, Utah Feb. 25, 2017 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

Emergency crews found the injured rider and set up the staging area in preparation for Intermountain Life Flight’s landing nearby.

“We did call out Life Flight due to the nature and location of the call, as he was about three to four miles out from the pavement,” Hooper said.

Witnesses at the scene reported that the man was riding down a steep hill when he went up and over the handle bars and crashed, at which point another mountain bike rider called 911.

Once the helicopter landed, the emergency medical crew brought the man to the staging area to assess his injuries.

The rider declined air transport at that time and was instead transported to Dixie Regional Medical Center by Gold Cross Ambulance for treatment, Hooper said.

At the time this report was taken, Hooper was unable to specify the nature of the man’s injuries or medical condition due to privacy policy constraints.

The St. George Fire Department, Intermountain Life Flight and Gold Cross Ambulance responded and tended to the scene.

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

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Email: cblowers@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

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

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6 Comments

  • Bender February 26, 2017 at 3:18 am

    Helicopter ride probably $10,000+ while the ambulance ride $1,000. Easy call for the un or under insured.

  • darkgoddess February 26, 2017 at 7:32 am

    @Bender, you’ve obviously never been out mountainbiking at BCP. No way an ambulance is going out there, for one, and trying to transport someone with an ATV to the ambulance cannot be done without jarring the patient and causing further injury. The copter can easily land nearby for patient transport.
    Also, you are being quite presumptuous assuming the cyclist had no insurance.

    • .... February 26, 2017 at 9:32 am

      That’s just Bender shooting off his mouth without knowing all the details as usual

  • outsider_100@hotmail.com February 26, 2017 at 6:11 pm

    As a regular user of the Bearclaw-Poppy trail system, I can see where there are numerous opportunities to flip over, and land hard.
    While I am sure we all applaud the great work that the air ambulance folks perform, often meaning the difference between life and death for the injured, I have to question the frequency of their mobilization. While a medical professional, who has more than basic first aid training can assess the C-spine condition, and determine the safest method for transport to the Emergency Room, it strikes me as an overused resource.

    The air ambulance business is hugely profitable, and they have been very aggressive at pursuing past due accounts. For fear of a potential “malpractice” lawsuit, it is easy to deploy an air ambulance when circumstances may not warrant the huge cost. The cost should be borne by the injured party, or his/her insurance company (not likely). S&R teams provide a valuable emergency response and seldom get reimbursed for their work.

    Let’s be diligent about how we deploy these resources.

  • Bender February 27, 2017 at 12:18 am

    darkgoddess I’ll defer to your knowledge of the terrain at Bearclaw Poppy since I have indeed not been there. I was only commenting on the extreme cost of air transport. Sounds like guy had some inkling of the costs of helicopter transport when he refused the second hop from staging area to hospital.

    My comment about insurance was not meant to be derogatory… I’m guessing a majority of us lack the gold plated insurance plan we would prefer. I don’t know if my insurance covers air transport and if so, what the stipulations are. Do you know if yours covers air transport for you and, if so, what the maximum payout is and what the stipulations are? You may be in the position to eat an unexpected bill that could be way north of $10,000, but I’m guessing most of the rest of us are not.

    Per outsider_100@hotmail.com‘s comment, the public would benefit from greater knowledge of the air ambulance business, especially the for profit part of it. If this February 2016 article from the Salt Lake Tribune about Utah’s air ambulance industry doesn’t concern you you better read it again. Don’t miss the $90,000 airplane ride from Blanding to SLC and ensuing lawsuit against the patient for non-payment:

    http://www.sltrib.com/news/3871233-155/utahs-new-air-ambulance-companies-raise

    My bottom line is this: don’t get in the helicopter unless it’s actually needed. If you do get in a helicopter, you are much better off in Intermountain Life Flight’s hands than you are a private company. They have better equipment, training and reasonable (compared to private) rates.

    For those who unaware, modern air ambulance helicopters are hideously expense; both to purchase and to operate. Intermountain Life Flight in Saint George flies the Agusta Westland AW109:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AgustaWestland_AW109

    Purchase cost new for one outfitted as an air ambulance approaches $10 million. Hourly operational costs are in the $1,000’s. If you own a beast like this you have huge financial incentives to keep it flying for pay as much as possible. If you leave it sitting it bleeds you dry.

    Air ambulance service is just a tool for health care. It can be a lifesaving when needed, but also a death blow to your financial future. Use it wisely.

    • darkgoddess February 27, 2017 at 4:53 pm

      @Bender I do realize that the air ambulance is very expensive, and I’d have to check with my insurance to see if that was covered, even in part. It’s just that the terrain out at BCP would be quite jarring for someone with a possible spinal injury or even a fracture, should an ATV or side-by-side go in and transport. Sometimes the copter is the best thing. Personally, if my neck isn’t broken or I don’t have terrible injuries, I’ll limp my bike out on foot. I’ve been fortunate when I’ve crashed out there in the past, I was able to shake it off and continue riding back to the trailhead.

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