Man rescued from Eagle County wilderness |

Man rescued from Eagle County wilderness

Daily staff report
Vail, CO Colorado
Flight paramedic Dave Reynolds stands in the landing zone used to evacuate an injured hiker from the Holy Cross Wilderness on Tuesday

VAIL, Colorado – Rescuers teamed up Tuesday for Eagle County’s first backcountry rescue involving the new TriState CareFlight helicopter, launched in February at Eagle County Regional Airport.

Vail Mountain Rescue Group received a cell phone call Tuesday afternoon reporting that a 62-year-old hiker had fallen in the Holy Cross Wilderness some 10 miles from the Cross Creek trailhead. Fourteen members of Vail Mountain Rescue Group and a paramedic from Eagle County Ambulance District were dispatched on the ground to locate the victim. Because of the nature of the reported injuries, the uncertain location of the patient and the length of a patient evacuation from this area, a flight team from TriState CareFlight was dispatched to assist with the search operation and to transport members of Vail Mountain Rescue Group to a landing zone a half-mile from the patient.

The flight team responding was pilot Scot Marshall, flight nurse Kellye Simpson and flight paramedic Dave Reynolds, all of whom are trained as Critical Care Paramedics. The team utilized its state-of-the art Euro-copter A Star B3 copter, best known for being adept at high altitude, to locate the patient and to fly him to Vail Valley Medical Center.

“We realized that it would be five to seven hours to reach the patient by ground and 10 hours to evacuate the patient from this area,” said Steve Zuckerman of Vail Mountain Rescue Group. “Upon connecting with Dave Reynolds, the flight paramedic with TriState CareFlight, we located the patient within 30 minutes after taking off from EGE. Through a satellite phone call directly to Dr. Reg Francoise, medical director for TriState CareFlight and a surgeon at Vail Valley Medical Center, the flight team was able to initiate a patient care plan prior to the patient’s arrival 30 minutes later at the heli-pad at VVMC. It was remarkable teamwork, remarkable timing, and a tremendous outcome.”

The patient was treated at VVMC Emergency Department and was released the next morning.

“I think this illustrates the effectiveness of a remarkable asset in CareFlight,” said Dr. Reg Francoise. “To be able to offer an immediate high level of care in a remote area with the cooperation of the Vail Mountain Search and Rescue team, the medical team and the flight team is a true benefit to our community and visitors. We are very grateful for such a collaborative response and to the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office, who coordinated the rescue team’s effort.”

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