By Dillon Thomas
BOULDER COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – Six agencies credited extensive training and team work for the rescue of a 23-year-old Kansas man who was pinned by a 3,000 pound rock while hiking.
Rocky Mountain Fire Captain Anthony Scott told CBS4’s Dillon Thomas his team was one of five that responded to El Dorado Canyon on Thursday to assist in the rescue.
“We had a call out for a party trapped by a large boulder,” Scott said. “This one, it was very obvious that it was not a typical call that we receive every day.”
Rocky Mountain Fire joined Lafayette Fire, Rocky Mountain Rescue, Boulder County Emergency Services, City of Boulder Fire and Rescue and North Metro Fire in the response. Rocky Mountain Rescue is a team of volunteers that assists first responders in their efforts to help wounded and lost hikers in Boulder County.
Scott said the off-trail hike to the injured hiker was around one mild long, and mostly uphill.
“(There were) big rocks, big boulders, in one area. (It was) a really steep slope,” Scott said. “About 1,000 feet of elevation gain.”
The boulder crushed the man’s ankle, and foot. Scott described the incident as a “freak accident.”
Each responding agency brought tools, and plenty of man power, to assist in the rescue. Scott’s team brought advanced airbags, which can lift items up to 10,000 pounds. The boulder, in this response, was estimated to weigh around 3,000 pounds.
The rescue took several hours to complete. Eventually, the man was removed from the mountain and taken to an area hospital. A request for comment on this story was not returned by the injured hiker.
Volunteers with Rocky Mountain Rescue said 2018 was their busiest year-to-date with rescues. This rescue was 233rd for the year. The group of volunteers said they were already 40 percent past their previous record of responses in a year, but encouraged people to call for help when needed. Their services are free.
Scott said it was encouraging to see so many agencies come together, while often not practicing together, to successfully save a hiker.
“It was great to see how many agencies could come together, and come up with a great plan to fix the problem in a difficult and stressful environment,” Scott said.
Dillon Thomas is a reporter at CBS4 and a Colorado native. He believes everyone has a story, and would love to share yours! You can find more of his stories by following him on Twitter, @DillonMThomas.