Vail Daily letter: Teamwork a live-saver
This is a very special thank you to Vail Mountain Rescue, the Chris Brown and Dale Abbott families and Mystery Mark, who helped with the Flight for Life rescue of John Baker on Saturday afternoon in the Flat Tops.
John fractured two vertebrae in his neck following a very dramatic fall from his mountain bike. The Abbot and Brown families came upon the scene shortly after the accident in their four-wheelers. After I went for help, they literally took the clothes off their backs to shelter the Lycra-clad John from the rain and hail storms as he lay on the rocky road where he fell. They saved John from hypothermia and allowed him to remain immobilized. As we suspected, it was later found out that it was critical that he was not moved.
They also helped evacuate me and my wife, Liz, after a very ill-timed flat tire in the rain, mud and darkness.
Thanks to Mystery Mark, who had the presence of mind to get the GPS coordinates of John’s inert body before rushing down the mountain to alert Vail Mountain Rescue. Apparently, Special Forces trained him well.
Vail Mountain Rescue was awesome. They had a chopper at the scene within minutes of the call, and had John on a backboard on his way to Valley View Hospital shortly thereafter. They demonstrated the highest degree of professionalism and courtesy in the process.
John was operated on Sunday morning. He was told he came close to severing his spinal cord. The surgeon fused two vertebrae and he hopes to be released soon. Hopefully, before too long, we will again see John with his perpetual grin defying his age and common sense, seeking adventure in the mountains.
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