Jun 16, 2015 8:42 PM by Charlene Cheng
It was a harrowing impromptu rescue mission involving firefighters, doctors, and the California Highway Patrol.
"It just seemed like a really long day. It was just a bad situation that none of us were expecting to see that day," said Cody Buick, who works as a firefighter for the Redding Fire Department.
Three off-duty Redding firefighters, hiking to the top of Mt. Shasta, saw 57-year-old Michael Murphy slip from an elevation of 12,000 feet.
"We were around 11, 11,000, and he slid past us to just about 10,500 in elevation. That whole trek was about a mile and a half of him falling," said Rik Valles, a Redding Fire Department captain.
Joined by another party, that included two ER doctors and a guide, they immediately called 911.
The doctors performed an emergency tracheotomy with a pocket knife and a CamelBak tube.
Then, firefighters worked on a way to mechanically move air in and out of the patient.
"We built a bag valve mask out of a bladder consisting of two different CamelBak spouts and some duct tape. What we would do is that I would breathe into one tube, clamp it off with my pliers, and Cody would compress the bag to force air down the patient's lung, to get proper rise and fall," Aaron Dieck said.
Two hours later, a CHP helicopter arrived, no easy feat considering the elevation.
"They actually returned to the ground and start pulling out seats out of the rig to reduce the weight as much as possible. They were almost not able to stay up that high and also be able to lift someone off the ground," Valles said.
Despite the crew's best efforts, Murphy later died from his injuries at Mercy Medical Center.
"Everyone of us know that we did everything in our power to help Mr. Murphy that day," Buick said.