t is another bright crisp sunny spring Sunday morning in
Montecito, a perfect day for a jaunt on Romero Canyon Trail. A
mountain biker races joyfully down the trail when suddenly he
loses control and goes head first over the handrails and ends up
twenty feet down in heavy chaparral and off the trail. Luckily, a
hiker witnesses the accident.
More than twenty miles away by car or truck, but just five minutes
from Montecito’s back country as the hawk flies or the eagle soars
(we’ve got ‘em both), the Santa Ynez Air Ops firefighters, standing watch
by their helicopters, hear the call and respond. Quickly.
Montecito Fire Department receives an emergency phone
call about the bike accident and immediately has dispatch contact Air
Operations to assist in the rescue to locate and evacuate the biker.
Air Ops, commanded by Captain-Crew Chiefs
, with firefighter-paramedic
, arrive at Romero
Canyon Trail area via helicopter from their base in Santa Ynez Airport.
Air Ops locates the victim and releases Tim and Guy on
a boulder near the victim. O’Neill, now harnessed to the helicopter
and standing on the skid helps to guide pilot
in a hover
overhead. This maneuver allows Captain O’Neill to assess the situation
with the paramedics and the victim. Air Ops has also communicated
to the Montecito fire crew their location on the trail. Montecito Fire
Department arrives on the scene almost simultaneously.
Air Ops paramedics stabilize the victim, who has a
fractured tibia protruding from his leg. Care is taken to expedite the med-
evac due to the risk of the victim being compromised by tissue profusion.
12:51- 1:01 pm:
The victim is harnessed and hoisted with the
paramedics into the helicopter for transport.
FallingOut of the Sky
by Joanne A. Calitri
Back Country Air Ops On Alert Day & Night
The Air Ops Helicopters 308 and 309 at Santa Ynez Airport frame (from left) Fire Fighter Paramedic Tim
Gailey, Captain/Crew Chief Guy Smith, and Fire Fighter-Paramedics Eric Gray and Jason Haley