2 other hashers injured as heavy boulder was loosened on mountain side in As Matuis
A huge boulder pinned and trapped a man for six hours, while two of his other companions were also injured during a hash run on the side of a mountain in the Radar area in As Matuis last Saturday.
Firefighters and other rescue members used ropes and an air bag to lift the boulder that measured about 6X4 feet, enough to pull out the victim, according to Department of Fire and Emergency Medical Services spokesman Derek Gersonde yesterday.Gersonde said the victim who was stuck under the boulder suffered fractured legs, while the second man fractured his right leg, and the third only had minor scratches.
He said only the two who had serious injuries were taken to the hospital.
The two who received injuries are a certain Hong and Tyler Collins.
“It was horrible! The victims were screaming for hours and there’s blood all over the scene,” a witness told Saipan Tribune.
As this developed, former Office of the Public Auditor legal counsel George L. Hasselback started yesterday a fundraising drive for the two victims.
Hasselback said the two need lengthy medical care and surgeries.
“One guy doesn’t have insurance and is needing some Hash House Harrier love. Please donate if you are able,” said Hasselback in the fundraising post.
Hasselback said Saipan Hash House Harriers is best described as a “drinking club with a running problem.” He said it is a tight-knit “family of weirdos” who get together once a week to celebrate the outdoors and camaraderie.
The gofundme account that Hasselback set up is called the “Injured Saipan Hashers Fund” and as of 8pm yesterday has already raised $3,000 out of the $10,000 target amount.
Attorney Bruce Berline, who was among those who responded to assist the victims, said it was around 9pm when the rescue personnel freed the hasher from underneath the boulder.
“The trail was quite difficult, with steep drops and climbs and tight corners. It was located on the side of the mountain, so footing was difficult and unstable. And it was incredibly hot and humid,” Berline told Saipan Tribune yesterday.
Gersonde said that on Saturday at 5:15pm, DFEMS received a call from the Department of Public Safety, stating that there were hikers that sustained multiple injuries in As Matuis around the Radar area.
Gersonde said DFEMS search and rescue unit, medics from Garapan Fire Station, and medics from the Kagman Fire Station and a rescue unit from the Susupe Fire Station responded to the area.
Gersonde said investigation showed that one hiker was climbing and the huge boulder was loosened, hitting one on the thigh.
He said the boulder landed on another hasher, pinning both of his lower extremities.
The third victim had minor scratches.
Gersonde said the fourth person, who was not injured, was the one who called the police for assistance.
Berline said he along with Tyce Mister and others were called by people on the hash to come assist the injured hashers.
Berline said he was not on the hash. He and Mister went there at about 8pm to see if they could assist.
He said when they arrived there was already a huge response team from the government, and the rescue was already well underway.
Berline said they were asked to take an extra air tank to the location, where a hasher was trapped underneath a very large and heavy boulder, as it was needed for inflation of the air bag the rescuers were using to raise the boulder off the person.
Berline said he believes it took them about 15 to 20 minutes to walk to where the rescuers were.
On the way there, he said, he saw another hasher being carried in a basket stretcher up to the waiting ambulance.
The person, he said, had suffered a broken leg but seemed to be in good spirits despite his injuries.
Berline said that injured hasher was placed in a special hard plastic stretcher designed to evacuate injured people from wilderness areas such as this one.
He said it allowed the stretcher to be slid over rocks and maneuvered through the tight trail without snagging on the vegetation.
He said then it was a matter of forming a line and feeding the stretcher from person to person while the people in the back came forward and repeated the process until they got him to the ambulance.
The lawyer said about 20 to 30 people were involved in carrying the victim out of the jungle.
He said it took at least an hour of hard work to get the victim to the ambulance.
“The rescue personnel (DPS, DFEMS etc) were outstanding. Nice to know that they all are there and fully capable of handling these types of emergencies,” Berline said.