ST. GEORGE — A mountain bike rider injured in a crash Thursday out in the Bearclaw Poppy reserve was found by a couple visiting from halfway around the globe who proceeded to summon help and provide assistance while rescue teams were en route.
Shortly after 1 p.m. a call came in to emergency dispatch reporting that a man was injured in a mountain bike crash on the Stucki Springs trail, a remote 10-mile trek that lies within the Bearclaw Poppy reserve southwest of St. George. Washington County Search and Rescue Liaison Darrell Cashin told St. George News the man was in need of medical attention and was unable to ride out on his own due to the severity of the injuries.
The man was discovered when a couple staying in the area from New Zealand was riding along the trail and came upon the injured rider, Cashin said. Once they reached an area with cell service they called 911 to report the incident before returning to stay with the man until help arrived.
The search and rescue team was called in, along with the St. George Fire Department. Mercy Medical Air Transport was also launched due to the nature of the injuries. Emergency medical personnel from Gold Cross Ambulance also arrived at the trailhead and began the long trek in the direction of the injured rider.
Cashin said that since the 911 call was made from a different area than where the crash took place, when they pinged the cell phone, it provided the GPS coordinates from where the cell phone was located at that moment. As a result, it took additional time for rescue teams to pin-point the cyclist’s actual location.
Fortunately for the rider, Cashin said, the husband of the couple that found him is a practicing physician in New Zealand and was able to provide initial medical treatment and stabilize him while rescuers and medical teams were en route.
When search and rescue arrived, they discovered that the rider sustained what appeared to be a potentially severe back injury. The physician from New Zealand also told the team that the rider reportedly lost consciousness immediately after the crash and had a number of cuts and contusions that were treated before the group arrived.
Once Mercy Air landed, the man was reassessed before being secured to a backboard and flown to Dixie Regional Medical Center for evaluation and treatment.
The decision to fly the rider out was based on the fact that he had shown uneven bilateral strength and immobility, Cashin said, which can be indicative of a significant injury to the back. As such, their focus was on restricting any movement to prevent further injury, efforts that “would have been impossible during a ground rescue on ATVs where he would have been bounced around.”
With the rider on his way to the hospital, rescue teams made their way out of the remote area, accompanied by the pair from New Zealand who were loaded onto ATVs and driven to the staging area, where they were given drinks and snacks.
The out-of-state pair that assisted the injured rider was a “very, very nice young couple,” Cashin said.
“That rider was so lucky they were the one’s to find him.”
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