“This is like trying to find a needle in a haystack” San Diego Fire Battion Chief
What might have been a simple airlift extraction of an injured mountain biker turned into a much more difficult rescue Wednesday night as the canyon he was riding in was blanketed by dense fog, reducing the search team to using GPS pings generated from his cell phone to locate him. Helicopters could not be used as visibility was dangerously low.
The crash happened in the Black Mountain area of San Diego around 8 p.m. last night. He was eventually found and brought out by hand from a location set back about 1.5 miles from a subdivision. He suffered a major chest injury and a broken arm. The name of the biker has not been released.
What lessons can we learn from this incident?
When venturing into remote areas for recreation it is always advisable to use the buddy system. If this guy had been alone when he crashed there is no telling if he would have been able to make the call for rescue himself. If you don’t have the luxury of taking a friend on every adventure you embark on let people know where you are going and when you plan on returning. Worst case scenario, someone will eventually realize you have not returned and appropriate measures can be taken.
Next, the call itself is important. Make sure you have a fully charged cell phone with you and be aware of where it works. Anyone that spends time in the mountains knows the ridges and valleys where cell phones work and where they don’t. This knowledge can become critical in times of emergency, so take note of areas of reception when out recreating, they may just come in handy when the sh*t hits the fan.
Lastly, the entire situation might have been avoided with a simple weather check. I am not an expert on the area and fog may be difficult to predict and swift moving but if it was forecasted that would be a red flag to not go into remote areas and ride during dusk. Always be aware of the weather and make decisions accordingly.
Again: Use the buddy system, make sure your communications are functional and pay attention to the conditions.
Shout out to SD Fire for handling the situation and we hope this guy has a speedy recovery and is back out on the trails in no time.
For the full ABC 10 article on the incident go HERE.