Trail of blood leads to missing Santa Maria biker
April 4, 2016
Santa Barbara County search and rescue personnel followed footprints and a trail of blood to locate a missing dirt biker and survival specialist Sunday morning. Search teams found the missing Santa Maria man standing in a creek with a friend who had beaten recuse personnel to the location.
Family and friends of the dirt biker reported him missing overnight Saturday. During the search, rescue teams determined the biker crashed his bike, broke both of his arms and suffered a leg injury.
Still, the man managed to walk to about two miles to a creek. He later walked to a helicopter landing zone to greet paramedics.
The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s office has not released the name of the man. He is a 38-year-old former marine who is an avid dirt bike rider, according to a sheriff’s office press release.
Sheriff’s officials said the man was last seen around 4 p.m. Saturday. Relatives and friends began searching for him after he did not return by nightfall.
Around 2 a.m., sheriff’s deputies met with family and friends of the biker. The relatives said he was familiar with the area and likely had emergency supplies but no food.
Authorities deployed the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue team at 2:30 a.m., and field teams were assigned to various trails and back country roads at approximately 4:30 a.m.
Search teams used specialized off-road vehicles. Due to heavy fog, the helicopter could not begin flying until about 9:30 a.m.
At about 10 a.m., the helicopter crew located the dirt bike at the bottom of a culver in La Brea Canyon near Wagon Flat Campground. There was no sign of the biker in the area.
Search teams then followed the footprints and trail of blood down to a creek about two miles away. At approximately 11 a.m., the helicopter crew located the missing biker.
The biker was standing in the middle of a shallow creek with a friend who had hiked down and found him. The injured biker was conscious and alert.
He had brought medical equipment with him, and the friend used it to place splints on his broken arms. After the biker walked to the helicopter landing zone, the chopper flew him to a local hospital.
The rescue involved 16 search and rescue team members. It took more than 12 hours to complete.
The sheriff’s office says everyone involved in the rescue is very pleased the biker is reunited with his family and friends who never stopped searching for him.