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My other ride is your mom
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5,442 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just got back from a horrible scene out at Pemberton. This afternoon, my wife and I were wheeling around pemberton when we came upon a man lying in the trail, with his wife attempting to do CPR. We called 911 and were able to give decimal degree coords from the man's GPS. While on the phone with 911, several more folks rolled up and started assisting in various ways. The folks were visiting from Durango CO and apparently the gentlemen went OTB, landed on his head and was not breathing. His helmet was cracked and he was non responsive. His pulse was week, stopped twice and restarted before the sheriffs helicopter showed up with two paramedics. I don't want to get into the details partly out of respect for the couple who are having a far more horrible experience than I, but also because I am frankly sick and numb from the whole experience.

I will say that I felt utterly useless....and still do, for not being able to do more. The other wonderful folks who were there were top notch human beings and I can't begin to express my love for humanity right now. If I may speak for the others, I think we all felt helpless; trying like hell to make a bad situation a little better in any way we could for the man and his wife. We all were doing something in our own way from stripping our shirts off to try and keep the man warm, the folks performing chest compressions, the folks counting out the time between respiration.

We were all trying to come together for one man, all alone in the desert for 35 minutes before the paramedics arrived.....that was the longest 35 minutes of my life and I hate myself for saying that because the woman who was fighting for her husbands life had it far worse off than I.

I apologize ahead of time for some of these things because I feel I need to get some things off of my chest, but still respect the privacy of the individuals most affected. After the paramedics arrived and began to stabilize the man, another helicopter arrived (medevac).

The folks out there offered to help out in any way possible and we all did...offering to take care of the woman's dog who was left in their car, but in the end the sheriffs deputies were in the best position to assist. We all waited until the gentleman was lifted away and his wife followed in the sheriffs helicopter.

All the various folks who came together to help out agreed to ride out together. It was the most solemn and quiet ride I have ever been on. We were all simply shredded from the emotionality of it all....again, I feel guilty for even feeling shredded because this did not happen to me...I was just simply there.

I don't know if anyone knows who this couple is from Durango CO, but if you do; the folks who tried to help in any way possible would sure like to know how the gentleman is doing. I have their names and ages, but don't want to broadcast them...again due to privacy issues. We noticed their vehicle in the parking lot, it was a tan/brown or gold color 4-runner with a ski rack on the roof, colorado plates. The woman indicated that they did not know folks here, but I have to think that perhaps they have ridden with some of the folks here recently. Knowing that the hospital will not release any info to strangers, we are hoping that someone connected to these two people will be able to share any information the deem appropriate. The other folks involved may be posting up and all would take a measure of comfort to know that the man is doing fine.

He was fighting hard, nearly as hard as his wife. We all hope for a good outcome here, but I'm scared to say that it did not look good from my untrained eyes. Again, I want to thank all of the folks who assisted to include the Sheriffs deputies and paramedics who responded.

Lastly....and I realize that I've rambled here...but my hands are still shaking from the experience...I'm pledging to take more responsibility for myself and others on the trail by taking a wilderness medicine class, getting trained in CPR, always carrying my own GPS (I forgot to bring it today...luckily the man had his own). We were roughly 8 or 9 miles in from the parking lot (roughly half way) and had we not had the GPS and a cell phone with reception, it would have taken far longer to communicate where we were located.

I realize now more than I did this morning that life is fragile and the ones you love are all you have when the chips are down. I'm sure glad this man had his wife there. I just wish we had been able to do more. The beer I'm drinking right now does not even taste good, so I'm just going to curl into a ball and cry now because the things I saw today were simply horrible.....this has been my catharsis.
 

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I, Mudd
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213 Posts
Wow- that's one heck of an experience. It sounds like you did everything you could. I'm sure the victim and certainly his wife are thankful that you (and others) were there.

If anything, your vow to learn first aid, CPR, and wilderness medicine will benefit you and quite possibly some one else on the trail in the future.

Every now and then, especially when striking out alone on a less traveled trail, I wonder what the hell I'd do if I really biff it bad? Bottom line is this is a dangerous activity and people actually die mountain biking every year.

I thinks it's experiences like yours that makes us realize how precarious life really is and how thankful we should all be that we can snap in and head out whenever we want.
 

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Fragile - must be Italian
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2,308 Posts
Jeezus...that sounds horrible. I would be freaked out too if I were in your position.

However, I'm still stuck on the part about doing an endo on Pemberton. How is that possible?

Thx...Doug
 

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Salty Dog
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366 Posts
(1) I'm really sorry you had to experience this trauma. (2) I'm really glad for the victim and his wife that you and others stopped and stayed with them to help. (3) Remember to always pay it forward, for the next time it might be you or someone you know.

I can't tell you how much the wife will realize your help was.... later when she is able to think more clearly...

You done good. Give yourself and all the others a pat on the back and try to get some sleep tonight.
 
G

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dgangi said:
However, I'm still stuck on the part about doing an endo on Pemberton. How is that possible?

Thx...Doug
I thought the same thing until I went OTB 2 years ago because of a big rut that the rain caused. I saw it too late and I was down.
 

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Pivotal figure
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6,361 Posts
Man, that's a harsh day for sure. I know how you feel though, had nearly the same experience on Javelina a few years ago. Never found out how the guy came out but it didn't look good. I got my CPR and First Aid classes updated but I still wonder if I wouldn't just lock up when the real thing happens..
 

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Lone Wolf McQuade
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2,418 Posts
First off, I wish the rider a speedy recovery.

"I thinks it's experiences like yours that makes us realize how precarious life really is and how thankful we should all be that we can snap in and head out whenever we want."

I got this in a email the other day and was horrified by how this riders head slammed into that rock...ouch! It brings me back down to earth about how precious life is and that it can all go away in a matter of seconds. He was just riding along.... Matt

 

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My other ride is your mom
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5,442 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
For starters...not naming the gentleman perhaps gave some folks some false worries....his name is Craig. I just talked with one of the folks out there with us today who has some additional info.....evidently Craig's neck is broken and he is still not breathing on his own. It's not looking good.
 

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Brit on a trip
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453 Posts
That is a horrible event to get caught up in - well done for helping them out. It is very sobering when the injury is so serious it requires immediate help but is beyond what you can do on the spot.

A friend of mine went down hard last year and was literally shredding himself in the ground writhing in agony and unable to breath - he was desparate and panicking and although we had a gps fix we were some way from a phone signal. We got lucky there as the two that went out to get help found a house with a paramedic abut a mile away and he brought out a 4x4 to get the casualty.

Turned out our friend had broken ribs and puncture a lung - but the other lung was found to have a very large benign tumour in it that reduced its capacity to very little - hence the desparate inability to breath. When you are having to restrain someone who is that desparate - getting seriously cold as he went into shock - and there is no idea how long it will take to get help it is, as you have found, profoundly difficult to deal with.

The experience led to a large number of our active forum members attending a wilderness first aid course (the sister of on of our members is a first aid trainer). However, whenever I read something like this it reminds me how useless I am at remembering the basics of it when it has never been used - so once again the notes will be out for a refresher.

My thoughts will be with Craig and his wife - hopefully you can give us an update in due course.
 

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No Clue Crew
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7,711 Posts
Man, I'm sorry to hear about that traumatic situation and how its impacted you.

In my professional life, I deal with a lot of trauma, violent death, suicide, etc. It's never easy. Life is fragile and these things happen very quickly.

Understand that you've experienced the trauma and then let it go. You assisted the best you could. You did good. Hopefully, the gentleman survives.
d
 

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Registered
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636 Posts
My condolences to Craig, his family and friends.
Trail trauma is a very difficult situation do deal with, especially the type you encountered yesterday. Thank you for taking a course of action, and sharing the experience here in words. The type of accident you had to deal with is one of the most difficult to work with. I know that agony and feeling of helplessness when someone is in pain and it seems like nothing you can do will change anything. Even if you cannot stop bleeding, set a broken bone, or get a backboard in place safely, a great gift is to offer support in the coming days.
 

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Salty Dog
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366 Posts
Find me Spot

Tor-y-Foel said:
although we had a gps fix we were some way from a phone signal.
For those of us who ride in areas where there is no cell signal I have found a solution:

http://findmespot.com/en/

I've had the device for over a year now and luckily not had to use it as I would have on Trail 4 at Seven Springs when I crashed there almost two years ago.

It's also a great tool for when you're traveling and just want to send a quick message home that you're ok. I've used it when traveling across the reservations in Arizona.

Something to think about.

Tommy
 

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livin' the dream......
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1,969 Posts
Good job for stepping up and helping this person and his wife. I was in a situation once at an old job where a guy I worked with collapsed in the office. After I moved through the gaping co-workers who stood there doing nothing, I realized he had no pulse and was not breathing. I did CPR for 7 minutes until fire arrived, but my co-worker did not make it.

Blatant said you will be able to let it go, and that is correct. For months I felt guilty about my co-workers death and I still think about the situation I was in over 6 years ago, but I look back now and know I did what I could while others could do nothing. You did it right out there.
 

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my dog's Frisbee launcher
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513 Posts
Maadjurguer
Thank you and the others who helped. my prayers go out to Craig, his family and friends.
In 89 I was in a Mt Bike race and went head on with a pickup truck I had broken almost all the bones on the left side of my body. things did not look good for me but the help from my fellow riders and the well wishes and prayers from the biking community helped me pull through (that and some really good doctors) to make a full recovery.

my hopes and prayers go out to Craig
and to those who helped...you guys make the world a better place...thanks

Peace, Billy
 

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Banned
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860 Posts
When I hear a story like this I am reminded of how ill-prepared we all are to handle the unexpected. As a former police officer, I stood over people who were dead or dying, on many occasions. As a civilian I once witnessed a young girl get hit by a car as she ran across the street to join her mother. I was instantly thrust into a situation where I had to send the mother for help and administer first aid while waiting for the medics to arrive. It's not something you thought possible while out running around a park.

This is a valuable teaching moment. It is normal for people to read a post like this and offer prayers for the victim and thanks for all who stopped to assist. But that is not enough. We all need to look at the situations we could face and ask if we are prepared to deal with them. If not, what can we do to give us, or someone else, better odds of survival. Taking a wilderness first aid class is very helpful. If you ride as a couple, you should discuss various scenarios, and plan a course of action. Start riding with a cell phone. Moab's search and rescue says the cell phone is the most valuable way to avoid spending a night lost. Keep a small solar blanket in your pack, along with a first-aid kit and matches.

My wife and I came upon a fresh mountain lion kill a couple years ago, less than two miles from our home, on a trail we regularly run and ride on. We came home and read up on several mountain lion attacks in the last couple years and created a course of action in the event we get attacked. It is important to remember that not all help from passerby's is beneficial. Sometimes it causes more severe injury. The people who were afraid to aggressively respond to the mountain lion attacking the woman near Santa Barbara (after that same mountain lion had killed a male mountain biker earlier in the day) decided to grab the woman by the ankles and get in a tug-of-war with the mountain lion, which had it's jaws tightly clamped onto the woman's face. As you can imagine, this cause very severe injuries. With mountain lion attacks, it's an all-in aggressive defense. that works best. The lion will try to clamp down on it's victims neck and snap it, so you have to react quickly. My wife and I have decided that within seconds of an attack, the person free to help will run toward the scene with their bike and drop down on top of the mountain lion with full body weight on top of their bike, with no concern about causing minor injury to the person getting attacked. The lion has to be discouraged and scared away.

Not knowing a victim has a broken neck, it is difficult to avoid further injury and possible paralysis., however, when someones heart stops beating, you have to vigorously attempt to get it restarted. I knew a young man who went down during a sanctioned downhill race and snapped his neck. He was unable to breath and course officials were able to save him and get him to hospital. He survived but is spending his life as a quadriplegic. The man down on Pemberton may or may not survive his injuries but the actions taken by those who stopped to assist his wife, gave him the best chance for survival. No matter how this turns out, you should all be proud of the strength you showed in taking life-saving action. The rest of us will remember this event and speak to our loved ones and work out an action plan that one day may save another life. Thank you for sharing your experience.
 
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