OURAY COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) — A driver who went off Red Mountain Pass in southern Colorado was rescued after spending hours yelling for help — from hundreds of feet below the road.
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“In what had to have been a grueling and terrifying event, the [man] spent hours yelling for help,” the Ouray County Sheriff’s Office wrote on Facebook on Thursday.
The only sign of the accident visible from the road was a bent sign and some broken car parts at the edge of the cliff.
“Luckily our local CDOT driver, Dack Klein, came across the debris field and heard the cries for help,” the sheriff’s office stated.
Getting to the driver — and getting him back up to the road — was no simple feat. It was 600 feet from the road to the river and the snow was chin-deep in places, according to Ruth Stewart, Captain of Ouray Mountain Rescue Team, Inc.
“It was a lot of work,” Stewart told CBS4.
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But Stewart said all the snow may have softened the blows the SUV took as it slid and rolled down the slope. She said the SUV was largely intact, minus the windows.
“All the snow made for good padding instead of riding down on the rocks,” she said.
The driver was cold and wet but up and walking around when they got to him. He’d been down there seven or eight hours.
The driver was transported to Fellin Park and then Care Flight of Montrose took him to Montrose hospital. The sheriff’s said no other details about the man or the extent of his injuries was available.
The sheriff’s office thanked all the agencies that assisted with the rescue: the Ouray Volunteer Fire Department, Ouray Mountain Rescue Team, Inc., the Colorado State Patrol, Ouray County Emergency Medical Services, the Ouray Police Department, and the Colorado Department of Transportation.
“We’d also like to extend a big shout out to our local Ouray firefighter, Adam Kunz, for his quick actions in making his way to the motorist and communicating between them and rescue personnel,” the sheriff’s office wrote.
“We are extremely proud of the volunteers that serve our community with honor.”