Schilhabel fell about 30 feet down sand dune on ATV

Schilhabel fell about 30 feet down sand dune on ATV »Play Video
Tyler Schilhabel is seen in a photo from Facebook.
PISMO BEACH, Calif. -- The accident that left 16-year-old Tyler Schilhabel paralyzed from the neck down was apparently caused by a 25- to 30-foot fall down a sand dune while he was riding an ATV at Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area in Pismo Beach.

Brent Marshall, chief ranger with State Department of Parks and Recreation, tells Eyewitness News that Schilhabel was riding with a group when they noticed he became separated and they turned around.

"They identified somebody down at the bottom of about a 25- to 30-foot sand dune, and they called for assistance," said Marshall.

Emergency personnel responded in about 5 minutes and Schilhabel was initially taken by ground ambulance to Arroyo Grande Community Hospital. He is now being treated at Stanford Hospital in Palo Alto.

"He was conscience and oriented at that time," said Marshall.

Shilhabel was riding a quad, which is a four-wheel ATV, but Marshall could not say how fast he was going at the time of the accident nor could he provide specific details. He said the investigation is still ongoing.

The 16-year-old student at Independence High underwent surgery on Monday to repair spinal-cord injuries. News of the accident left a deep impression among his fellow students, staff and teammates on the varsity football team.

See the "Pray For Tyler Schilhabel" Facebook profile >>>

Schilhabel is the starting quarterback for the Independence High Falcons. His coach, Sean McKeown, said Tyler appeared to be in good spirits on Tuesday. Tyler wanted to thank everyone for their thoughts and prayers, said McKeown.