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Mountain Biker Hoisted to Safety After Dramatic Fall in Foothills Above Altadena

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A helicopter rescue team hoisted a mountain biker to safety after a dramatic fall in the San Gabriel Mountain foothills above Altadena, a witness and officials said.


A helicopter rescue team hoisted a mountain biker to safety after he fell off the side of a trail in Altadena on Saturday, Dec. 13, 2014. (Credit: Deirdre Del Re)

Search and rescue personnel responded about 9:52 a.m. to a report that a bicyclist had gone over the side of the Sam Merrill Trail in Las Flores Canyon (map), according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

Deidre Del Re witnessed the incident and videotaped the rescue operation. She said the male cyclist, who was wearing a helmet, plunged 200 feet in the fall.

"It was horrific," she said. "The guy was obviously still conscious and just falling like a rag doll. … It was such a lengthy drop that I actually had time to take my cellphone out and think about calling 911 while he was still falling."

Rescuers located the man within 15 minutes, a sheriff's spokesperson said. He was lifted onto a county Fire Department helicopter and transported to Huntington Memorial Hospital in Pasadena.

The unidentified mountain biker, described as approximately 35 years old, was expected to survive after suffering a broken nose and possibly injuring his pelvis and back, fire officials said. He remained hospitalized Saturday evening in unknown condition.