Emergency crews rescue 4 horseback riders in RMNP
Emergency rescue crews had a long night Monday as they camped over in Rocky Mountain National Park after a medical evacuation stemming from what local officials jokingly referred to as “the horse trip from hell.”
A guided horse tour with six riders, which originated on the eastern side of the continental divide in the park, was descending from high alpine areas of the park late Monday afternoon towards the Green Mountain Trailhead when a 62-year-old female rider fell from her horse and sustained a back injury, according to local authorities. Two other individuals in the party reported signs of high altitude sickness at roughly the same time and another individual reported issues stemming from diabetes.
The initial call for response was received at 4:58 p.m. Monday. By 6 p.m., park rangers had called for assistance from Grand County EMS’s Mountain Medical Rescue Team, which headed up the Green Mountain Trail to the group of horse riders shortly after 7:30 p.m. According to officials, first responders traveled roughly six miles from the trailhead to reach the group.
Rangers and Grand County medical personnel administered aid to all individuals at the scene as the rescue operation shifted its focus to the injured woman.
After stabilizing the individuals, the rescue crew members made plans to have the injured woman airlifted out of the park by a helicopter. Due to logistical issues and federal regulations restricting helicopter flights that take place after dark within RMNP, rescuers were not able to get the woman out before nightfall.
Officials decided at around 9 p.m. to have the entire contingent of first responders and horse riders camp overnight in the park.
First responders led the group early the next morning down the Green Mountain Trail to a helicopter landing zone in Tonahutu Meadows.
The helicopter touched down at around 8:45 a.m. Tuesday. The remaining civilians, park rangers and Grand County rescue crews continued down the Green Mountain Trail to the trailhead.
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