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Monday, June 06, 2005

Paramedics come by chopper

Friday night I flew home. Saturday all day I was at a LAN and I got home at 1AM.
Sunday I got up early and went to the markets to see the fish tank guy, give him the cheque from the insurance company and arranged for him to come and see the tanks on Monday. Then we went to church (via McDonalds) and then we came home for lunch.
In the middle of the afternoon Jude decided to go to the nursery to look at plants. I elected not to go and decided to go for a bike ride. Jude said "take your phone". I was going to the same place I broke my collarbone last year.
I hopped on my GT Avalanche and headed for the bush. Following some dirt tracks I hadn't ridden before I ended up near a road before heading back into the bush. I took intersection choices by random and at one point I ended up in a dead end. As I realised this another bike rider appeared. He was on a downhill specialist bike. He said he had been doing some jumps. I offered to come and see them. When we got to the jump I said "no way" to jumping over that. The jump had been scooped out before the ramp which was supported with wood, following was a deep pit and then a ramp at the other end to come down on. The distance between the take off and the landing ramps was about 12-15 feet. The rider, Mike, said he had done it several times that day.
Anyway I lay down in the pit, pulled my phone out and switched to video mode and waited. As I head him come I started recording and got a magnificent shot of flying bike followed by a crashing sound. I leaped out of the pit to find him lying between two trees with the bike wedged at the front of one of the trees. I asked if he was OK and he stated calmly that he had broken his leg. I checked and it sure looked broken. I immediately dialled 000 for emergency (thanks Jude) and started organising an ambulance to come to the road where he had parked his car. I then trekked uphill (a real cool track by the way that I am definitely going to ride now I know its there) and headed out to the road. I reckon that was a good kilometre and a half.
The ambulance arrived shortly, driven by one of my old footy mates, followed by a second ambulance. While they were looking at the distance to approach from the top, I suggested we go from the bottom, from the point where I had come close to the road. They agreed and when we got there I estimated about 800 metres. (I think it was closer to a kilometre actually.) I rang Jude and she came up in the car with blankets, a torch and all the kids. The ambos raidioed for a chopper and then loaded up a stretcher with emergency gear and we headed in. I helped carry the stretcher and by the time we got to Mike it was nearly dark. Being a tropical climate nightfall happens pretty fast. The chopper arrived with just enough light for us to see it and guide them to us and it hung over us with a huge wash of air, pebbles and stones and dirt being flung at us. We attended to Mike under a blanket injecting morphine and then splinting the leg (in the wrong place as it turned out) before lifting him onto the airlift stretcher and tying him in. The chopper then lifted up the stretcher with one paramedic hanging beside him and then took the second paramedic with the gear. Once they left we really noticed the dark as the chopper had had a huge spotlight on us making it like daylight as we worked. The ambos had one torch among 4 of them and I had my torch. I rode the crashed bike and carried a bunch of his gear as well. After we got out Jude and I went and got his car and drove it to my place where his brother picked it up later at night.
The End.