Swooping in to Aid Ground Personnel


Emergency personnel in Laguna Beach turned to helicopter medical evacuations more than once over the Labor Day weekend, rescuing injured swimmers in South Laguna and an injured cyclist in Laguna Canyon on Monday.

On Sunday, a man in his 20s and a teenage girl were airlifted from Three Arch Bay after both swimmers suffered minor head and neck injuries, fire officials said.

On Monday, a 15-year-old girl who also suffered a minor neck injury was airlifted from Thousand Steps Beach after lifeguards pulled her from the ocean.

Helicopters were used because both beaches are difficult to access with other emergency vehicles, firefighters said.

A mountain biker injured while riding early Monday morning in the Laguna Coast Wilderness Park was also hoisted off the hillside by helicopter, Laguna firefighters said Tuesday.

The cyclist, who had suffered a possible broken ankle, was on a steep trail above 2825 Laguna Canyon Rd., said the department’s Training Division Chief Tom Christopher. Firefighters hiked up switchbacks from the canyon bottom to reach the injured cyclist mid-slope and ready him for extraction by the Orange County Fire Authority helicopter. Once on the ground, he was transported to the hospital, said Christopher, who could not further identify the victim, injured when using his foot to brace himself on the trail.

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