13-year-old boy suffers serious injury after falling 25 feet while hiking

Classic Air Medical Helicopter arrives at Station No. 1 to transport injured teen to the hospital Friday, Littlefield, Arizona, July 28, 2017 | Photo courtesy Jeff Hunt, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — A teen was rescued and transported by helicopter to the hospital after suffering what appeared to be a severe leg injury from falling off a cliff during a family hike in Littlefield, Arizona, Friday afternoon.

Shortly after 2 p.m. responders were dispatched to the incident involving a 13-year-old boy who fell approximately 25 feet while hiking with family to the  Littlefield Springs in an area commonly referred to as “Little Jamaica,” Beaver Dam/Littlefield Fire Chief Jeff Hunt said.

Classic Air Medical was called in to assist in the rescue, launching from its base approximately 100 miles away in Kanab.

The boy’s mother called 911 and said when he fell, his leg took the brunt of it and thought he may have a fracture,” Hunt said.

Littlefield Springs is located along the Virgin River off Exit 9 on Interstate 15 in Arizona and is accessible by hiking approximately a quarter mile from the trailhead down to the pools below.

Firefighters loaded up the station’s Polaris Ranger ATV and headed to the location, and, after making the short hike, reached the injured teen who was sitting on a rock with his leg submerged in the water.

Hunt said the leg was swollen despite being submerged under cold river water, and from appearances, the teen may have suffered a fractured femur or other serious injury during the fall. The youth also told firefighters he was in a great deal of pain.

Initially the team believed that a long-line rescue was the only option as the route back to the ATV included a river crossing, Hunt said, which would have been very difficult with the amount of pain the youth was in.

After administering pain medication the teen was loaded onto a rescue board to immobilize the injury as much as possible while rescuers searched for an area in the river where the water level was low enough to make it across safely.

After finding a safe area to cross, and with the help of bystanders, Hunt and his team carried the injured teen, still secured to the rescue board, across the river. Once on land, they made the hike back to where the ATV was parked.

He was then loaded onto the back of the ATV and transported to Beaver Dam/Littlefield Fire Station No. 1 where the helicopter landed 10 minutes later. The youth was loaded straight from the ATV to the helicopter and flown to the hospital.

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

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  • SteveSGU July 29, 2017 at 7:35 pm

    Why wasn’t a helicopter from Mesquite or St. George used?

  • Foxyheart July 29, 2017 at 11:53 pm

    I was wondering the same thing, Steve.

  • darkgoddess July 30, 2017 at 8:03 am

    It’s likely the St George and Mesquite copters were already out on calls, which necessitated the use of a copter from Kanab.

  • Common Sense July 30, 2017 at 9:31 am

    We went to check this place out a year ago and it is VERY dangerous! It is super steep and has slick drop offs. When we went it was dirty and there was a lot of garbage left behind from previous visitors.

  • Nate August 3, 2017 at 1:21 pm

    Mercy out of mesquite is the closest at around 20-25 miles and Lifeflight out of st George is only a few miles further. I guess we have to assume they were both out. EMS does monitor this stuff, I’m sure they know.

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