Sacto 9-1-1
July 14, 2011
Injured kayaker rescued by sheriff's air unit in Placer County, department reports

A Placer County Sheriff's Department air support unit conducted a rescue Tuesday night of a kayaker who paddled off a 30-foot waterfall and sustained severe back injuries on landing, the department reported.

The 27-year-old man was kayaking on the north fork of the American River in a remote area of the Tahoe National Forest when he went over the waterfall, according to a department news release. Other kayakers pulled him from the water and hiked out of the canyon to call for help, the release states.

"The way he went off, his boat apparently hit flat on the water, and that's like hitting concrete," said sheriff's department Sgt. Van Bogardus, who piloted the department's air support unit rescue helicopter.

The helicopter was dispatched at 7:20 p.m., and located the injured kayaker around 8:30 p.m., Bogardus said. A rescue specialist was lowered to perform a medical assessment of the man, who advised he was unable to walk, Bogardus said.

Medical equipment, including a backboard, was also lowered. It took about two hours to complete the hoist rescue, Bogardus said.

Once the kayaker was stabilized, he was flown by helicopter to the Blue Canyon Airport, then by air ambulance to the Sutter Roseville Trauma Center, according to the department news release. Sheriff's officials said Thursday they did not have an update on his condition.

That area of the river is popular with extreme kayakers, the release states. The injured man was apparently visiting Placer County from out of state for the kayaking, Bogardus said.

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