Drone delays life flight rescue in Washington County

Photo courtesy St. George News

WASHINGTON COUNTY, Utah – A drone temporarily halted a life flight rescue in Bear Claw Poppy Reserve on Saturday.

According to the St. Gorge News, a mountain biker on a trail was flown to the hospital after severely fracturing his leg.

A drone that was being flown in the area prevented the helicopter from reaching the injured man, according to reports.

The rider was inaccessible to fire trucks, forcing respondents to reach the injured man on foot.

“We couldn’t even get our UTV anywhere close to where the men were located, and it even took a while on the phone with the other rider to actually identify where they were even located,” St. George Fire Battalion Chief Robert Hooper said.

Paramedics on the scene determined that the injured man was unable to be moved, and decided to call Intermountain Life Flight.

“Due to the nature of the man’s injuries and the fact that the GPS coordinates fell within a range where assistance could be requested, we called on Life Flight to come out and help with the transport,” Hooper said.

Soon after calling the helicopter, respondents were tipped off that a BMX rider was flying a drone in the area. As a result, they were forced to temporarily postpone the flight until the airspace was determined to be safe.

“It was obvious he wasn’t trying to film the incident or was being negligent in any way,” Hooper said of the drone operator, “because he wasn’t even aware the rescue was going on, but once we talked to him, he landed and secured the drone so that Life Flight could continue.”

After the drone operator was informed of the situation, authorities said they were able to get the life flight to the victim.