Search and Rescue Team Operation: Aid to an injured backpacker on the PCT

Mono County Sheriff Search and Rescue logo

To:      All News Outlets

From:  Jennifer Hansen, Public Information Officer

Date:   June 28, 2013

RE:      Search and Rescue Team Operation: Aid to an injured backpacker on the Pacific Crest Trail

On the afternoon of Tuesday, June 25, 2013, at approximately 2:15pm, Mono County Sheriff’s Dispatch received a call regarding a backpacker with a leg injury on the Pacific Crest Trail.

A local couple was backpacking on the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). The wife, age 75, of Swall Meadows, was walking on a flat section of dirt trail when she rolled her left ankle. She heard a pop and collapsed experiencing severe pain. She was unable to put any weight on the limb and therefore was unable to walk out of the backcountry. Her husband was able to make a flat area next to the trail where they could camp and await help. They had a tent, food for the night, and did not plan to move from their location. The husband gave a note to a fellow hiker making his way back to Red’s Meadow. The note stated that his wife had a broken ankle and they were unable to walk out. The hiker passed along the note when he arrived in Red’s Meadow and called 911.

The area the victim was in was a remote area near the border of Fresno, Madera, and Mono Counties. Madera County Sheriff’s Dispatch was notified and requested mutual aid from the Mono County Sheriff Search and Rescue (SAR) team. The SAR team was called and the rescue effort was initiated. The Mono County SAR team also requested the assistance of the California Highway Patrol and their H40 helicopter. It was determined that the helicopter could not make contact with the victim until the next morning. A SAR ground team was to hike into the victim, assess the victim and the area for a medical evacuation by air in the morning.

On the morning of Wednesday, June 26, 2013, at approximately 6:30am, the SAR ground team located the victim and assessed her medical condition. The H40 helicopter was able to extract her by hoist with the aid of the ground team. She was flown to Mammoth Lakes and transferred to Mono County Paramedics who took her to Mammoth Hospital for further treatment. During this time, the SAR ground team assisted her husband in packing up and hiking him out to the Red’s Meadow Trailhead. He returned safely home to meet his wife.