A LifeFlight helicopter landed in a field across from the Seal Harbor beach Oct. 14 to transport Liam Somers, who was severely injured in a bicycle accident that day. PHOTO COURTESY OF JANE MURPHY

Cyclist saved by ‘miracles’



ACADIA NAT’L PARK — Liam Somers was sure he was dying.

When his bike crashed into the rear of a car on the Park Loop Road on Saturday, Oct. 14, he was thrown through the rear window and then bounced back out. In the process, the shattered glass cut his throat and chest and severed multiple arteries in his neck.

Lying on the ground, he knew he was losing a lot of blood.

“I was very certain, seeing the volume of blood already under me, that I would not live through the experience,” he said in an email to friends about 10 days later.

Somers, 48, who grew up in Bar Harbor and now lives in Scarborough, said he was saved by a series of three “miracles.”

First, almost immediately after the accident, a couple from Florida came upon the scene. That morning, Somers said, the man had read in a news story about the mass shooting in Las Vegas that more victims there might have been saved if more people had known how to apply pressure to a torn artery.

“Without hesitation and using just his bare hands, he immediately applied pressure on my neck to stem the bleeding,” Somers said.

Jim Wilmerding, a Northeast Harbor Ambulance Service paramedic, said the couple who stopped to help Somers were both former flight medics.

“Their immediate intervention bought him valuable survival minutes,” Wilmerding said.

The next miracle, Somers said, was the arrival after only a couple of minutes of Wilmerding and fellow paramedic Margaret Houghton, who happened to be nearby when the call came in about 1:30 p.m. They took over the effort to control the bleeding and keep Somers conscious and warm.

“These two were nothing short of angels,” Somers said.

The third miracle was that a LifeFlight helicopter based in Lewiston wasn’t too far away. By the time the paramedics got Somers’ stabilized at the scene and into an ambulance, the helicopter was only a couple of minutes from landing in a field across from the Seal Harbor beach. Somers was put onboard for the short flight to Eastern Maine Medical Center (EMMC) in Bangor.

From the time of the accident until he was in the air, Somers said, “I received the care of innumerable first responders from several towns and the park itself. Firemen, police and park rangers acted in concert and with amazing calm and precision to make sure not a minute was wasted.”

Almost immediately upon arriving at EMMC, Somers underwent emergency surgery. He woke up two days later and is continuing his recovery at home.

He since has had nothing but praise for the hospital care he received.

“So many miracles in such short order,” he said. “So many caring people who took a complete stranger’s life in their hands and did everything they could possibly do to protect it.”

Somers and his wife have two children, ages 13 and 3.

He said he is an avid cyclist and loves to return to Acadia to ride on the Park Loop Road. On the day of the accident, he was about an hour into his ride, “enjoying the peace of the park and the unseasonably warm weather,” when the accident occurred.

He said he has vivid memories of the accident, but still isn’t sure how it happened.

 

Dick Broom

Dick Broom

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Dick Broom covers the towns of Mount Desert and Southwest Harbor, Mount Desert Island High School and the school system board and superintendent's office. He enjoys hiking with his golden retriever and finding new places for her to swim. dbroom@mdislander.com
Dick Broom

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