Police Sergeant Rescued and Airlifted After 40-Foot Fall

AUBURN -- An off-duty sergeant with the Roseville Police Department was airlifted to Renown Regional Medical Center in Reno Tuesday morning after he slipped and fell down a 40-foot waterfall during a hike near Lake Tahoe.

“I thought it was so shallow ... barely running, that I thought it would be alright, but it’s not,” Karl Dyer told FOX40 over the phone from his hospital room.

Dyer was taking sunrise photos from Eagle Falls when he lost his footing in the slippery algae of the waterfall.

“I slipped and I became part of the waterfall,” he said in good spirits. “Went down about 40 feet and landed at the bottom.”

Dyer explained he received immediate assistance from a British Marine medic who happened to be hiking along the same trail on vacation.

The area had cell service, making it possible to call for help.

Multiple agencies worked together to perform a rescue including Lake Valley Fire, North Tahoe Fire, Meeks Bay Fire, Care Flight Medical Helicopter, El Dorado County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue, and CHP Valley Division Air Operations.

The CHP's H-20 helicopter based in Auburn was able to land in the Emerald Bay parking lot.

“They got together with the search and rescue team," explained CHP Flight Officer/Paramedic Dave White. "Care Flight was summoned, and they landed there also. And they formulated a plan that due to the steep, rugged terrain...a hoist would probably be the safest extraction for everybody involved.”

The helicopter hoisted Dyer from his location near the waterfall to the parking lot where he was transferred to the Care Flight helicopter for medevac to the hospital.

He said his injuries include some broken bones and a slight punctured lung.

“I got a lot of little things,” he explained. “Nothing too major. All I need is a back brace and six weeks, and I should be good. That’s a miracle.”

Dyer received a visit in the hospital from several members of the Roseville Police Department, which lifted his spirits. And he is grateful to all of his rescuers. He said they did an outstanding job. He also has some important words of caution for other hikers.

“Stay out of the water on any of the falls,” he advised. “Don’t go close to the edge for anything.”

It has been a very busy summer for the CHP Valley Division helicopter crews. They performed 40 rescues in the month of July alone, a single-month record for the Auburn-based Air Operations, according to Officer White.