San Clemente Big Wave Surfer Rusty Long Recovering from Burns – 40 percent of body burned


San Clemente Big Wave Surfer Rusty Long Recovering from Burns
by Andrea Swayne

Aug 04, 2011

On July 24 San Clemente-based big wave surfer Rusty Long suffered 2nd degree burns over approximately 40 percent of his body while clearing debris on property he owns in Puerto Escondido, Mexico.

Long and his neighbor were setting a controlled burn to clear a pile of brush and construction debris that had become occupied by a swarm of aggressive bees and scorpions when the flames flared up, causing Long’s burns, said Rusty’s father Steve Long.

“They had been waiting for the appropriate weather conditions to light the pile on fire—calm, no wind, with a forecast of rain showers overnight which would douse the coals. Gasoline was poured on the debris pile prior to lighting and the doctors speculate that gasoline vapors mixed with the sweat on Rusty’s body and vapors were also present in the heavy humidity and air surrounding the debris pile,” said Steve. “The fire jumped to Rusty after it was ignited. The local winds which had been calm began gusting at the moment the fire was ignited and Rusty was too close to the pile.”

Rusty’s friend Mathew Gonzales—also of San Clemente—rushed him to the Red Cross station. From there he was transported to the local hospital by ambulance.

“He was given excellent urgent care [at the local hospital]. The attending physician recommended Rusty be Life Flighted to either Mexico City or the United States for advanced care,” said Steve. “We arranged a jet ambulance to fly Rusty and his girlfriend Kelly Cox to San Diego the morning after the accident.”

Rusty is in stable condition in the University of California San Diego Burn Center Intensive Care Unit and has already received a second round of skin grafts on his wounds.

Read more: Dana Point Times – San Clemente Big Wave Surfer Rusty Long Recovering from Burns

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