Emergency Crews Use Boat to Rescue Injured Mountain Biker


October 17, 2016

At 5:12 p.m. on Sunday, October 16, 2016, the Oak Ridge Fire Department (ORFD) was dispatched to Haw Ridge Park for a man down on Haw Ridge bike trail with a broken ankle. The Oak Ridge 911 dispatchers were able to ping the caller's cell phone and determine the approximate location of the accident. It was determined the biker was near the water on the southeast side of the trail.

Oak Ridge paramedics from Engine 3 and Rescue 1 began hiking to the incident while the rescue boat responded and was launched from Solway Park boat ramp. The ORFD boat located the patient within 25 minutes of the call.

The 58 year-old male was riding alone when he wrecked on a steep hill and broke his ankle. Two other bikes came along and assisted him until the fire department arrived. The other two bikers also assisted the fire department in carrying the man to the boat where he was then transported by water to the waiting ambulance.

There are several biking accidents at Haw Ridge each year. One of the most difficult parts of rescuing someone from Haw Ridge is finding their location within the park. The 911 dispatchers can ping a cell phone and provide the fire department with coordinates for the caller, but access and rescue can be difficult along the steep wooded trails. If patients are on the south side of the park, it is sometimes much easier to extract them by water, although the water can be very shallow in many areas.

On October 28, the fire department will receive a new smaller rescue boat capable of negotiating the shallow waters around Haw Ridge.