It started as a vacation, but an ATV accident now has left an Omaha man in bad shape, in a hospital bed, a long way from home.
Family members are trying to get Mike Kershaw moved from Idaho Falls, Idaho to a medical facility in Omaha. Kershaw is a devoted father of two and a 20-year employee of UPS.
Kershaw was riding his ATV in the Saint Anthony Sand Dunes on August 27, when his ATV plunged more than 50 feet off a hidden drop-off.
"I came up on the dune and I saw his ATV sitting out on the distance a little bit and he wasn't on it," said Scott Lynn, a friend of Mike Kershaw. "I slammed on my breaks but it was too late and I slid sideways off the side of the dune. I fell forty to fifty feet."
Lynn says he fell forty or fifty feet off the cliff and landed within a foot of Kershaw's body. Lynn was ok in the fall but Kershaw suffered a traumatic brain injury. He was unresponsive.
Lynn says Kershaw is an experienced ATV rider who has visited the Saint Anthony Dunes at least half a dozen times. It's unclear what caused the accident.
"The sand gets blown out there so sometimes you just can't see the edges of them (the dunes. So I don't know if that's what it was, he just didn't see the edge and went off, or maybe he was looking backward and went off," said Lynn.
It took about an hour for a life flight ambulance to arrive. He was taken to a medical center in Idaho. Now - Kershaw is being treated for a severe brain injury similar to shaken baby syndrome. Kershaw has a Diffuse axonal injury or (DAI).
"Still now waking up - there have a few improvements, said Penny Kershaw, wife of Mike Kershaw. "He cracked his eyes open yesterday. They moved his feeding tube out of nose today."
A beloved father of two...the Kershaw family wants mike to be brought home to Omaha to recover, but life flight transportation is expected to cost tens of thousands. Much of the cost will most likely not be covered by insurance.
The National Association of Insurance Commissioners says the average air ambulance trip falls somewhere between $12,000 to $25,000 per flight for a trip of just 52 miles.