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Rescue crews keep man alive

Oak Harbor Fire crews who worked to save the life of a 72-year-old bicyclist Thursday succeeded enough to get him transported to Whidbey General Hospital.

“We’ve still got something to work with, but it’s pretty iffy,” said Dr. Paul Zaveruha, Whidbey General’s director of emergency medicine.

The man was part of a group of cyclists heading south on Highway 20 when he collapsed near the crest of the hill south of Swantown Road. Southbound Highway 20 was shut down for approximately 20 minutes while crews worked.

Medics performed CPR and used a defibrillator to keep the man’s heart beating.

Oak Harbor Police Officer Mike Clements said the call was originally reported as a car versus bicyclist accident, but once crews arrived, it was determined that the man had an unknown medical condition.

Because of federal privacy laws, no update on the man’s condition was available and the hospital could not release his name.

“When you get someone who is older, even in good condition, this can be a tough hill,” Clements said.

The man’s bicycle was covered in bags, and took two officers to lift it.

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