ST. GEORGE — A 73-year-old man was transported to Dixie Regional Medical Center via Intermountain Life Flight Sunday after rescue crews responded to a call that he had crashed his dirt bike on a trail just north of LaVerkin.
Washington County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Darrel Cashin said Search and Rescue personnel, as well as emergency personnel from Hurricane Valley Fire, responded to the crash on the Toquerville Twister Trail Sunday at around 12:30 p.m.
The man was riding dirt bikes with family on a section of narrow single track with a ravine on one side. The man was unable to navigate the narrow part and fell into the ravine along with the dirt bike, Cashin said.
Cashin said he did not know whether the motorcycle hit the man during the fall, but he was complaining of a lot of back pain.
Based on the location and injuries of the man, Hurricane Valley Fire called Life Flight to assist.
While the helicopter was en route, search and rescue and Hurricane Fire emergency personnel treated the man, did a full c-spine stabilization and were able to place him on a backboard and hike him out of the ravine, Cashin said.
Life Flight was able to land about a 10-minute hike from where the man crashed, Cashin said, and crews were able to get him safely to the helicopter for transport to Dixie Regional Medical Center. As of this report, there is no update as to the condition of the injured man.
In March, crews responded to a similar crash at the same location, Cashin said, though in the March crash only the rider fell into the ravine.
“It gets real thin,” Cashin said of that section of trail. “And if you make a mistake at all, that’s where you end up — boom down in the ravine.”
Sunday’s call out marked the sixth search and rescue call between Friday and Sunday over the busy Thanksgiving weekend, Cashin said.
Crews responded to four calls Friday, including that of a 15-year-old boy who went missing on Red Mountain Trail Friday and was found alive Saturday.
Friday’s call started at noon with a call from the state emergency operations center saying they had received an emergency signal in the Sand Mountain area of Sand Hollow State Park. Search and rescue crews responded but did not find anything though they were able to confirm later with the state park that there had been a UTV accident in the vicinity, Cashin said.
Cashin said some of the newer UTV models are equipped with emergency beacons in case of accidents.
In this incident, the UTV had rolled but there were no injuries.
Shortly after that incident, at about 2:30 p.m., Cashin said they got a call for an injured hiker on the Red Reef Trail in the Red Cliffs Recreation Area. A woman had fallen on the steps carved out into the cliff by a water hole and had injured both ankles, Cashin said.
Crews responded, stabilized both ankles and got her into a stokes basket where they walked her out to the trailhead. The woman refused transport, Cashin said.
At approximately 2:45 p.m. on Friday crews were called to the missing boy on Red Mountain. That rescue lasted until midnight Friday and resumed again Saturday morning until the boy was found.
At 4:30 p.m., rescue crews were alerted to a family who had gotten lost on the Vortex Trail near Sand Cove Reservoir, Cashin said, adding that as crews arrived at the trailhead they were informed by the family that they had found their way back.
As Saturday’s rescue of the 15-year-old continued, crews were called at about 2 p.m. to a report of a fall in Snow Canyon State Park.
Cashin and a few available search and rescue responders and deputies responded to the Petrified Sand Dunes Trail where a woman had fallen on loose rocks and broken her ankle.
Cashin said they were able to stabilize her ankle, get her into a stokes basket and onto a waiting UTV which then transported her to a Santa Clara-Ivins ambulance which transported her to Dixie Regional Medical Center.
With Sunday’s call, Washington County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue crews had responded to their 165th call out this year, marking a 25% increase in calls over last year, Cashin said, adding that his crew has gone far and beyond.
“They don’t like to quit,” he said.
Search and rescue crews operate on a volunteer basis, Cashin said, adding that the only payoff for them is a successful rescue.
When crews successfully reunited the missing 15-year-old boy with his mother Saturday, Cashin said the entire feeling on the mountain changed.
“They all said ‘This is why we do search and rescue,'” he said.
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