Coast Guard medevacs survivor from fatal car accident

USCG File Photo

CRESCENT CITY, Calif. – The Coast Guard responded to a fatal car crash last night near the Oregon border to medevac a passenger who survived more than 24 hours in the mountains following the accident.

On Wednesday morning, two men and a dog were driving on Low Divide Road in Del Norte County when their car crashed down an embankment, overturning multiple times. The driver, a 47-year-old man, suffered fatal injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene. The passenger Ira S. Norris, a 32-year-old Smith River resident, was ejected from the vehicle and suffered serious injuries.

Despite his serious injuries, Norris crawled back to the overturned vehicle and waited, with his dog, for help to arrive. On Thursday afternoon, a family friend found Norris and called for help.

Multiple local agencies responded including California Highway Patrol from Crescent City, the Smith River Volunteer Fire Department, and the Del Norte Country Search and Rescue and Sheriff’s Department.

Medical personnel stabilized Norris and requested helicopter medevac from Coast Guard Air Station Humboldt Bay. Due to road conditions an ambulance ride would have been jolting; possibly worsening his condition, and would have taken at least two hours. The helicopter was able to transport Norris to St. Joseph’s hospital, in Eureka, in under 30 minutes.

“Thankfully we were able to help Mr. Norris survive this terrible ordeal,” said Lt. Matt Sanford, aircraft commander of the helicopter that medevaced Norris.

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