Sunday, May 19, 2013
CARRABASSETT VALLEY -- A New Hampshire man who snowboarded into a tree at Sugarloaf ski resort Saturday is expected to make a full recovery after a LifeFlight helicopter crew saved his life, his father said Tuesday.
Grant Jones, of Bedford, N.H., said surgeons believe his son, Nicholas Jones, 24, would have likely died without the mid-flight blood transfusion he received en route to Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston.
"Based on the knowledge I received from the initial surgeons, the people in the med-flight saved his life," said Grant Jones by phone from the hospital.
His son fractured most of the bones in his face and suffered severe internal injuries in the accident. He remained in critical condition Tuesday. Doctors said he has no brain or spinal damage and should fully recover after a series of surgeries in the coming weeks, Grant Jones, 61, said.
"Nicholas is just a standout person and everybody talks about his special spirit, and we're so grateful for everything today," the father said.
On Saturday, friends found Jones lying in the snow unconscious after he hit a tree next to the King's Landing trail around noon, police said. He was not wearing a helmet.
Ski patrol took Jones down the mountain in a toboggan, to the Sugarloaf First Aid Clinic near the base lodge. Paramedics from NorthStar Ambulance took over the care at the clinic, where he was conscious and responsive.
Jones was taken by ambulance to a landing site at the Kingfield fire station, about 15 miles away, where he was transferred to the helicopter that flew him to the Lewiston hospital.
His father praised the response to the accident, calling it an overwhelming rescue effort that along with a lot of prayers has helped his son make tremendous strides toward recovery in just a few days.
Although his jaw is wired shut, Nicholas Jones, who is studying to become an optometrist, is communicating via notes and text messages with his two brothers, three sisters, parents and girlfriend, Gretchen Sampadian, who have all been staying with him in Lewiston, the father said.
Among the messages, he shared his desire to honor his duty to the Air Force after he finishes his final year at the New England College of Optometry in Boston. He enlisted last year and is scheduled to serve active duty after graduation, his father said.
Nicholas Jones' snowboarding accident happened two days after a man died after he skied into a tree at Sugarloaf.
David Morse, 41, of Harmony, Nova Scotia, died shortly after 5 p.m., Thursday, in a NorthStar Ambulance that was en route to Franklin Memorial Hospital in Farmington, police said.
Jay Bradshaw, director of Maine Emergency Medical Services, said Tuesday that LifeFlight helicopters were not an option during the emergency response to Morse's accident because of the weather.
Because of that day's snowstorm "both helicopters had been out of service for several hours prior to the ski accident and did not return to service until late Friday afternoon," Bradshaw saidd in an email.
David Robinson -- 861-9287