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Feb 23rd
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Home National & State Parks Other NPs Fourth of July Accidents at National Parks Prompt Rescues, Leave One Dead

Fourth of July Accidents at National Parks Prompt Rescues, Leave One Dead

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A series of accidents in National Parks in the West over the Fourth of July 2012 holiday has left one father dead and two park visitors requiring advanced life support medical responses.

The most serious accident took place July 4 at Mt. Rainier National Park in Washington state.

According to park rangers, a visitor was intentionally sliding down a slope in a controlled manner with his son in the Edith Creek area of the Paradise meadows.

edithcreek_in_autumnWhile sliding, he broke through a snow crust over the creek and fell below the surface of the snow. The man, who has not been identified pending notification of his family, was swept about 30 feet down the creek, underneath the snow.

His son immediately went for assistance at Paradise, rangers said.

First on scene was a Rainier Mountaineering Inc. group training in the area. They located the father in the water with his face submerged. A complex rescue operation ensued involving RMI guides and National Park Service rangers after risk assessments were conducted.

They were able to extract the man, and start CPR. An ALS air ambulance was called in to fly the man to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Meanwhile, at Lake Mead National Recreation Area, which straddles Arizona and Nevada, rangers on July 4 responded to six vessel accidents, two disabled vessels, four EMS calls, and 13 visitor welfare checks.

Two of the medical responses required advanced life support. One of them was the near drowning of a 19-year-old male who went swimming without a personal flotation device.

Rangers said the man began having trouble in the water and was about to go under when he was rescued by other visitors.

He was going in and out of consciousness when rangers and Nevada Division of Wildlife personnel arrived. Other symptoms included lack of a pulse, dilated pupils and foaming from his mouth.

Rangers began CPR, restored his circulation, and continued airway maintenance with the assistance of Echo Bay Marina staff.

He was later flown to University Medical Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. Throughout this monsoon weather event, rangers rescued more than 40 visitors from Lake Mead waterways.

In Wyoming, a visitor to Grand Teton National Park was successfully rescued July 5 during bad weather.

Rangers said David Perlman, 28, of Brooklyn, New York was ascending the mountain between the Headwall and Lower Saddle around 6 p.m. when several rocks broke free striking him and causing a significant injury.

A member of Perlman's climbing party continued to the Lower Saddle for help. There, two park rangers on a routine backcountry patrol were notified of the incident and immediately initiated a rescue operation.

Once on scene, rangers stabilized Perlman's injury and provided emergency medical care.

With the help of other climbers in the area, rangers brought Perlman to the park's seasonal hut on the Lower Saddle where they waited for a helicopter to evacuate him from the mountain.

Pearlman was loaded inside the helicopter and flown to Lupine Meadows where he was met by a park ambulance and transported to St. John's Medical Center in Jackson, Wyoming for further care.

During this rescue, a skilled helicopter pilot was able to reach the Lower Saddle through a break in the cloud cover around 12,000 feet, which made the flight possible.

Perlman was on the first day of a two-day guided climb of the mountain when he was injured.

The use of a Teton Interagency helicopter is a great rescue tool that can allow quick, direct, and efficient access to an injured person, rangers said. However, the use of a helicopter is not always guaranteed, they added.

The National Park Service reminds the public that visiting parks throughout the West requires visitors to use caution, and to keep members in their party aware of their hiking or camping plans.

National & State Parks