An injured mountain biker, who had crashed on a steep bike trail northwest of Laguna Beach’s Alta Laguna Park on Saturday, was airlifted to help by helicopter, fire officials said.
Firefighters, who had hiked in a half-mile toting medical gear, reached the injured cyclist about 30 minutes after the initial 10 a.m. call. The extraction “was extremely difficult,” said Deputy Chief Jeff LaTendresse, because firefighters were lowered about 150 feet from the hovering helicopter to assist firefighters on the narrow, hillside trail that ends at Big Bend. “That’s one of the longest I’ve seen,” La Tendresse said.
The helicopter crew needing to circle back twice complicated the rescue. After dropping off firefighters at the trail, the helicopter landed at the park to allow a paramedic to board and then returned to hoist up the cyclist, LaTendresse said. The victim, who suffered non life-threatening injuries, was loaded into a basket and transported to Mission Hospital in Mission Viejo.
Authorities were called by a second biker who encountered the injured 46-year-old Huntington Beach man on the Telonics Bike Trail, described on trails.com as “a steep, technical downhill that begins at Top of the World and plummets to Laguna Canyon. You’ll need suspension, guts, skills, and perhaps a bit of body armor to make the trip.”
LaTendresse urged recreational mountain bikers to use caution, carry a cell phone and to know the names of the trails they ride.