A young Boy Scout proved he was ready to cash in on a large number of merit badges last weekend when he stabilized and rescued his father after the two were in a serious car accident near Bridgeport.
On Sunday, Aug. 29, Chadwick Gilzean, 48, of Shingle Springs, Calif., and his son, Ian, 13, were on a Boy Scout camping trip, traveling on a remote dirt road when Mr. Gilzean lost control of their vehicle, which struck a tree and overturned. Following the crash Ian was able to undo his seat belt and climb free of the vehicle using the driver’s side window. He sustained a minor cut to his hand as a result of the accident but was able to bandage it on his own and then assist his father.
Ian freed his father from his seat belt and dragged him clear of the wreckage. His father was unconscious, unresponsive, and having difficulty breathing. Ian was able to clear his father’s airway allowing his father to breathe freely and eventually regain consciousness. Aware of his father’s injuries, Ian moved him into a position of comfort and covered him with a sleeping bag. Ian located a GPS and was able to determine his approximate location and the direction of the nearest highway. Ian loaded a backpack with a sleeping bag, water purifier, small hatchet, first aid kit, flashlight, matches and several other survival items, and then set out on foot to get his father medical help.
Ian hiked for an unknown time and distance before coming to a steep hillside leading down to the West Walker River. Ian slid down the hillside and then crossed the Walker River to get to the highway on the opposite side. He was able to flag down a passing motorist who assisted in getting Ian to a phone to call 911 at approximately 7:35 p.m. Ian was able to explain in detail to Sheriff’s Deputies, California Highway Patrol Officers, Paramedics and Fire Personnel where his father was located and assisted in guiding them to his father’s aide. Due to the severity of his injuries, Mr. Gilzean was flown by helicopter to the hospital. –Mono County Sheriff’s Dept./LAK