Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Ojai Man Survives Cliff-hanging Ordeal

Larry Yuva in stable condition, expected home soon

By Nao Braverman
Larry Yuva, Ojai resident, founder of the Matilija Fly Fishing Club and husband of Mayor Carol Smith, went missing sometime around July 2 from his vacation home in Montana.
Three days later he was found, hanging upside down in an overturned pickup, about 70 feet down a steep embankment in Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, about 35 miles from his Montana home, according to Yellowstone spokesperson Al Nash.
Six weeks later, a head nurse at Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center in Idaho Falls confirmed that Yuva is in stable condition. Yuva told the Ojai Valley News he expects to return in two to three weeks.
“Larry is a miracle,” said Smith.
Smith, who was at home in Ojai at the time, said that Yuva did not return phone calls on July 2.
On July 4 a passing tour bus passenger told a park employee at the West Thumb entrance station that he saw a car off the road somewhere on the 17-mile stretch between Old Faithful and West Thumb, according to Nash. Six Yellowstone rangers and a fire engine were immediately sent to search for the vehicle in the woods below Shoshone Pass but were unsuccessful, he said.
Yuva’s red 1997 Chevy pickup wasn’t discovered until it was spotted by another tour bus passenger the next day. The bus waited at the spot until a park ranger came to the scene.
The Yellowstone National Park service ambulance had him flown to the Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center, the closest trauma center, where he remained unconscious for about two weeks according to his brother, Chuck Yuva. About two and a half weeks after he was found, Yuva began to open his eyes slightly, and he was taken off the ventilator. Soon after he came to.
“I don’t remember much of anything until I woke up in the hospital, saw my brother, and asked for a diet Pepsi,” said Yuva. “I’m sure I am blessed that I don’t.”
The last thing he does remember is being trapped by his seat belt upside down and trying to cut himself out with a pocket knife.
According to Nash he may have been hanging suspended and unconscious from his seat belt for more than two days. An ATM receipt in the truck showed that he had made a withdrawal in the early hours of July 2.
In an investigation by the Wyoming Highway Patrol, Yuva was reported to be traveling at about 63 miles per hour going northbound when he crossed two traffic lanes and a small turnout before plunging off the steep embankment into thick timber, according to Nash.
Smith said that, fortunately, most of the impact was absorbed by a lumber rack on top of the truck.
Yuva said that he will be getting physical therapy soon and expects to be back in Ojai in two to three weeks.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Praise God!