Banding together: Neighbors unite to rescue a missing friend |

Banding together: Neighbors unite to rescue a missing friend

Mark Nadell/Community submitted photoOn Sept. 1, Truckee resident John Campbell was found unconscious after a mountain bike ride in the Tahoe Donnerand#8217;s cross-country trail network by a group of friends after a coordinated search. This is a recent picture of Campbell cross-country skiing. Those looking to voice support and check his status can visit the familyand#8217;s blog at

TRUCKEE, Calif. and#8212; and#8220;The first thought that I had was that he was dead.and#8221;

Mark Nadell remembers seeing long-time friend and Truckee resident John Campbell’s fallen bike caught in the beam of his headlamp. The second thing he saw was Campbell, lying face down in the dirt and#8212; not moving.

It was around 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 1, when the call came explaining Campbell, a well-known and seasoned outdoorsman, had not returned from a mountain bike ride in Tahoe Donner open space. Nadell had just returned home from a run at Tahoe Donner’s cross-country area when he received the phone call.

and#8220;I got a call that said and#8216;John Campbell is missing and#8212; do you want to go help look for him?’and#8221; said Nadell. and#8220;I basically just changed my running shoes into bike shoes and grabbed a helmet and headlamp.and#8221;

Meeting at the trailhead with other friends of Campbell, the group and#8212; all familiar with the trails and#8212; formulated a search plan, divided trails and communicated with each other via cell phones, Nadell said.

Nadell said it helped that he knew where Campbell couldn’t have been, since he’d just run the trails and knew Campbell had been heading toward Euer Valley.

Leaving Truckee resident June Lane stationed in a clearing at the end of Alder Creek, Nadell said he and fellow neighbor Mitch Dion set off pedaling hard down Firewalker, a cross-country ski trail in the winter.

Before long, they found an unconscious Campbell about halfway down the trail.

and#8220;Basically, the first thing I saw was his bike, which was on the left side of the trail and#8212; no John,and#8221; Nadell said.

and#8220;And then within half a second I looked over to the right and saw him lying in the dirt.and#8221;

It was about 8:15 p.m. when the two riders found Campbell, Nadell said, 45 minutes after getting the phone call.

and#8220;We both jumped off our bikes. I knew Mitch had taken a wilderness First Aid course much more recently than my 30 years ago, so I just told Mitch to take care of John to see if he’s alive, and I called 911,and#8221; said Nadell.

The two riders then checked for a pulse before immediately rolling Campbell over to assist breathing. From that point, emergency dispatchers directed Dean and Nadell to perform CPR until they arrived about 30 minutes later.

Emergency crews brought Campbell half a mile down the trail where there was a knoll large enough to accommodate a Care Flight helicopter, Nadell said. Campbell was then flown to Renown Regional Medical Center in Reno.

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