Rollover inspires daring rescue
A rescue including a helicopter and a commandeered boat may have saved a man from death this week after his tractor rolled down a steep embankment near the Yuba River.
Adam Schultz, believed to be from Auburn, was grading a road Tuesday above the middle fork of the river where it blends into the back of Englebright Lake.
“He hit a rock and springboarded off,” said Penn Valley Fire Protection District medic and firefighter Bill Grizzell, who got to the scene around 3:30 p.m. “The only thing that stopped him from going into the lake was a couple of trees.”
Nevada County Sheriff’s Deputy Mike Jewell responded after Schultz’s work partner saw the tractor on its side about 250 feet down the hillside. Jewell scrambled down the side of the 65-degree embankment, as did Penn Valley firefighters Nick Pendley and Scott James.
“He had major head injuries,” Jewell said. “We moved him out of the way of the tractor.” He and Pendley had feared the tractor would start rolling again and crush them.
Pendley and Scott stabilized Schultz, and rescuers were thinking about calling in a CHP helicopter to hover over the scene and hoist Schultz out. Helicopter ambulance flight nurses Heather Summerby and Kyle Madigan were also on the scene and thought it too dangerous and time consuming to pull Schultz back up the hill to their CALSTAR helicopter.
That was when Jewell spotted a family on the water in a ski boat.
“I yelled to them, and they agreed to transport him,” Jewell said.
The medics and nurses then moved Schultz to a point above the river where they had to lower him over a 10-foot drop to some rocks below, Pendley said. Once on the rocks, they moved him to the boat being used by the Curtis family of San Carlos, Jewell said.
They then transported Schultz to nearby Missouri Bar, a campground where the helicopter could land, Deputy Danny Waldrum said. Schultz was flown to Sutter-Roseville Medical Center, where he was listed in fair condition Wednesday.
“The guy’s very lucky,” said Penn Valley Fire Chief Gene Vander Plaats. “This shows how well things can go when everybody does what they are supposed to.”
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