A local pastor described being first to come to aid of Evan LaLanne, an 18-year-old who was left paralyzed from the waist down after falling almost 30 feet from Bishop Peak near San Luis Obispo, California.
Pastor Bryan Stupar told KSBY that he was watching the sunset on the trail with his 20-year-old daughter when LaLanne fell.
“I was looking off in the distance… saw him at the corner of my eye, and that’s when I just saw him disappear and [heard] the thud,” he said of LaLanne, who was walking down the Bishop Peak trail after using a drone with a friend.
Pastor Stupar hurried to the teen and knew the situation was serious immediately.
“It was a mixture of pure — just anxiety and adrenaline. I just rushed to him. I knew it was severe, especially when I got to him,” he recalled.
LaLanne had fallen into a crevasse and his backpack — with his drone inside — was making it difficult for him to breathe, the pastor said. Pastor Stupar pressed the quick release on the bag to lessen the strain.
He said the teen appeared to be breathing, but LaLanne couldn’t move his legs.
“I asked him to then, see if he could move and he couldn’t move his legs… and the position of his body was such that it was literally at a 45-degree angle, legs up in the air, head down,” said Pastor Stupar.
Emergency crews made their way to the victim after his friend and Pastor Stupar’s daughter called 911. Around 8 p.m., SLO City Fire tweeted that emergency responders were hiking back down to the base of the peak after airlifting LaLanne by helicopter to a hospital.
According to a GoFundMe page created to help the victim, LaLanne is “currently paralyzed from the waist down but it is unknown at this time if this will be permanent.” The Cal Poly San Luis Obispo student also suffered injuries to his neck and back and is recovering from spinal surgery at Stanford Hospital, according to KSBY.