Paraglider’s friends key to rescue effort
While a crashed paraglider’s rescue required a lot of resources, one of the keys to his eventual transport for medical treatment were the friends who contacted rescuers on Wednesday morning.
Not long after the crash, a companion made the steep climb up the drainage just north of D Hill above Walley’s Hot Springs.
At 8:25 a.m., East Fork firefighters and Douglas County Sheriff’s deputies responded to the crash.
At first they had trouble locating the paraglider, who was a couple of hundred feet below the ridge line. The friend spoke with dispatchers guiding rescuers to where they were located. Initial reports was that the 36-year-old paraglider had suffered several broken bones and perhaps a concussion in the crash.
“The victim had other friends who were able to call for help, hike in to help him, and provide rescuers valuable time saving information,” East Fork Battalion Chief Scott Fraser said.
Care Flight helicopter was called in to assist authorities in finding the paraglider, as was Douglas County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue.
“Once the single male patient was located, personnel hiked in to his location from Foothill Road,” Fraser said. “The California Highway Patrol was requested to respond a helicopter to hoist the patient off the mountain. In addition a helicopter was called from the Nevada Division of Forestry with the ability to use a hoist and bring the patient off the mountain.”
East Fork medics and Search and Rescue personnel hiked up the mountain to stabilize the victim.
Meanwhile, Douglas County Sheriff’s deputies closed Foothill Road between Walley’s and the Genoa Post Office while three helicopters landed in preparation for the rescue.
“The Division of Forestry helicopter was used to hoist the patient into the helicopter and bring him off the mountain where he was transferred to Care Flight to be taken to Renown Trauma Center,” Fraser said. “The patient had multiple injuries.”
In addition to the three helicopters, 13 East Fork firefighters, 15 members of Douglas County Search and Rescue and four sheriff’s deputies were at the scene. Fraser described the rescue as very complicated. No one besides the victim was injured.
“The East Fork Fire Protection District wants to encourage the public to always tell a friend your plans when doing any activities in the wilderness,” Fraser said.