Rescuers find mountain biker with serious leg injury

Utah wilderness | Wikepedia commons, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — An injured mountain bike rider vacationing in Utah was rescued and transported to the hospital after rescuers located her near the Grafton Mesa in Washington County Friday.

The rescue began at 11:15 a.m. when a man called 911 reporting a mountain bike crash in the area of the Wire Mesa Trail, which lies northeast of the Grafton Mesa near the Smithsonian Butte Back Country Byway, Washington County Search and Rescue Liaison Darrell Cashin said.

The man also reported that his wife suffered a compound fracture to her ankle in the crash.

One rescue team was sent to search for the injured 30-year-old rider along with responders from Rockville/Springdale Fire District, Cashin said, and located her using GPS coordinates provided by the rider’s cellphone.

Rescuers were able to drive to within a mile of the trail in their vehicles and then rode the rest of the way on ATVs until they reached the woman who was conscious and alert but in a great deal of pain, he said.

The woman and her husband from Arizona were visiting the area.

As rescue EMTs examined the rider’s injuries they found a large laceration to her ankle, Cashin said, possibly a compound fracture even though the bone was not protruding from the skin. When the bone fractured it could have popped out, breaking the skin, he said, before it sank back into the tissue leaving the large laceration in her leg.

“We were going off of what she told us happened, and it could have because that laceration was several inches long and very deep,” Cashin said. “So when the bone fractured it’s possible that it came out and then went back in.”

Rescue EMTs then splinted the woman’s ankle and provided medication to make her more comfortable for the long and rocky drive ahead.

The rider was then loaded into a Stokes basket (a litter a person can be strapped into for transport). Emergency responders then carried her 100 feet back to the medical RZR ATV for transport back to state Route 59 and an awaiting ambulance that transported her on to Dixie Regional Medical Center in St. George for treatment.

“We slowly drove her out to the trailhead, over to Smithsonian Butte and continued nearly 8 miles to SR-59,” Cashin said, “and the husband followed the ambulance in his vehicle.”

On average the agency performs 80 to 100 rescues per year, and in 2015 they completed 101. If the rescue numbers over the last two weeks continue then the team could very easily surpass that number this year by a long shot, Cashin said.

“We are getting slammed with rescues right now,” he said, “and it’s pretty early but we may have another year with more than 100 rescues.”

Washington County Search and Rescue, Rockville/Springdale Fire District’s EMS and Hildale-Colorado City Fire Department Ambulance responded and assisted in the rescue.

Wire Mesa Trail is the newest trail in Washington County and opened in December 2016. Through a partnership between the Bureau of Land Management and the Dixie Mountain Bike Trails Association, the trail was designed and built as an intermediate-level single track loop more than 7 miles long, according to Utah Mountain

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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