Bicyclist injured and alone in the woods for over an hour rescued after chance encounter

"He was very fortunate that another mountain biker came up on him."

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Air Medical Transport from Boston Medflight landed at Windham High School during a rescue of an injured bicyclist on July 27, 2021. Photo/Windham Fire Department.

WINDHAM, NH – A 39-year-old man was riding his mountain bike in the trails by Clyde Pond in Windham Tuesday morning when an accident left him with a serious injury. The man couldn’t get up and laid in the woods for approximately 90 minutes before help arrived. 

Windham Fire Chief Tom McPherson said a “good Samaritan” found the man on the trail about 90 minutes later and called 911. 

“He was very fortunate that another mountain biker came upon him. He was able to summon help and stay with him until emergency workers arrived,” McPherson said.

At approximately 9:22 a.m., Windham Fire and Police responded to the scene, with McPherson the first to arrive. The injured man was located about ½ to ¼ mile into the woods from the parking lot entrance.

A woman running the trail also lent a hand – she had just passed by the injured man and the other bicyclist when she came upon the firefighters and guided the firefighters through the woods to his location, according to McPherson.

“As she came down the trailhead, she was kind enough to escort rescuers back up the trail to the location of the incident. She did this twice in order to direct additional rescuers to the location,” McPherson said.

The injured man told rescuers he was riding his bike through the trail when his front tire hit rough terrain, bringing the bike to a sudden stop. The rider flew over the handlebars and landed on his head. He was wearing a helmet.

First responders carry an injured bicyclist from Clyde Pond where he was found by a woman who was out for a run. Photo/Windham Fire Department

The man reported being unable to feel his lower extremities and felt tingling in his upper extremities. Based on this, the fire department requested Air Medical Transport from Boston Medflight, which later arrived at the Windham High School football field. 

Due to the choice of landing zone, the high school was placed in secure campus mode while medical personnel worked to secure the patient.

It took an estimated 40 minutes from the time first responders arrived at the patient’s location in the woods to the time it took to carry him by rescue basket to the parking lot. 

“The patient was carefully packaged and brought out of the trail to an awaiting ambulance,” McPherson said.

An ambulance transported him to the helicopter and Boston Medflight flew him to Lahey Hospital in Burlington, Massachusetts. 

Mutual aid was requested and Salem Fire sent an engine to the scene for additional manpower. Londonderry Fire helped with station coverage and a Pelham Fire engine was sent to the high school to help secure the landing zone.