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Injured Hiker Rescued In Difficult, Extended Operation

Mojave National Preserve

National Park News

Rangers and firefighters responded to a report of an injured hiker in the area of Clark Mountain on May 25th. Units from the San Bernadino County Fire Department and a California Highway Patrol helicopter also responded. A search was begun based on the man’s cell phone GPS location and he was soon spotted from the helicopter. It was unable to land, though, due to the steep and inaccessible area where he was located. The man was able to wave at the helicopter and cell phone contact was made. He was found to be suffering from several injuries and immobile. A county helicopter with a hoist was summoned, but was unable to hover over the man due to high and gusty winds. Members of the park engine crew started to hike to the man’s location as it was getting dark. They had to cross steep terrain with loose rock on an off trail route and it took six hours to cover less than two miles. The injured hiker was treated and protected from the extreme weather, as he was wearing only shorts and a t-shirt and had no other gear. Rescuers determined that he’d slipped and fallen about 60 feet down a rock face. Two night-capable Blackhawk helicopters from the US Air Force 50th Rescue Squadron from Nellis AFB responded but had to abort due to encountering 80 to 90 mph winds. Preparations were therefore made for a difficult litter carryout, but the winds died down at daybreak and the sheriff’s department helicopter was able to hoist the man out. He was flown to a hospital in Las Vegas. The entire operation took 20 hours.


Ruby on RailsRuby: 1.8.7, Rails: 1.1.6