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Utah man critically injured in bike crash at Canyonlands National Park

Gretchen Malan has been staying at her husband, Nate's, side, after his bike accident. (Courtesy: Cameron Quayle)

GRAND JUNCTION, Colorado — A North Ogden man’s family is gathered around him and crediting miracles for saving his life after a bike accident at Canyonlands National Park that left him with severe injuries.

This map, shared on Facebook, shows the area where Nate Malan fell. Family members say he has a vision problem that means his eyes don’t adjust quickly from light to dark conditions. In this case, they believe the shadow created by the cliff disrupted Malan’s vision, leading to his fall. (Courtesy: Cameron Quayle)

Nate Malan is in the ICU in Grand Junction, being treated for 15 broken ribs, a broken pelvis and skull, and many other injuries. His family says he had just left the visitors’ center on the White Rim Trail at Canyonlands, outside of Moab, when Malan failed to negotiate a turn and tumbled 35 feet to the dirt road below.

“We heard his brother yell, I need help! His voice boomed down the canyon. The majority of our group heard his voice and realized something was wrong,” Malan’s brother-in-law, Cameron Quayle, said.

On the upper cliff, friends are showing a park ranger where Nate Malan was riding when he fell. Below, you can see rescue workers in the area where he landed. (Courtesy: Cameron Quayle)

Quayle says that’s when the first of the miracles helped save Malan’s life.

“One of our group got a cell phone signal not too far up the road, which almost never happens, and she called 911,” Malan’s brother-in-law, Cameron Quayle, said. “Dispatch told us that they had already dispatched an ambulance to the visitors center, and someone had refused care. Typically the drive from Moab is an hour away. But this one was just a few minutes away… in an area that is considered remote, we had people all there within 45 minutes. We think that is an absolute miracle.”

Malan’s wife and six children are now looking at staying in Colorado for an extended period of time as Malan recovers. Quayle says Malan faces months of recovery.

According to Quayle, Malan was on the first day of a four-day trip when the accident happened. They had ridden their bikes only about three miles from the visitors’ center at Island in the Sky, one of Canyonlands’ four main districts and the starting point for many hoping to access White Rim Road, a 100-mile loop around and below the mesa.

Friends and family members have set up a GoFundMe account to help Malan’s family stay near him as well as help cover his mounting medical costs. They are also tracking his progress on Facebook.

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