Two search and rescue missions completed last week


By Chris Mannara

Staff Writer

Two search and rescue missions were completed by the Archuleta County Sheriff’s Office of Emergency Management (OEM) on July 21.

The first call for assistance came around 12:32 p.m. for an injured female hiker in her mid-50s on the Fourmile Falls trail who reportedly had a broken ankle, according to OEM Director Mike Le Roux.

OEM, Pagosa Springs Medical Center EMS, and Upper San Juan Search and Rescue were already doing training at the time, Le Roux noted.

“We had plenty of resources,” Le Roux said, adding that the Pagosa Fire Protection District assisted as well.

Once the team arrived on scene and made contact with the patient, a second call came in around 1:40 p.m. for a female with a broken leg from a horse accident on the Piedra River Trail.

From there, the team was split into two and OEM Deputy Director Christina Kraetsch took command of half the team, Le Roux described.

“I was able to request assistance from the Forest Service and they had resources in the area,” Le Roux said.

According to Le Roux, the woman was not too far into the trail and that the injury stemmed from the horse getting scared.

“I think the horse was coming out of a box canyon, got spooked, bucked her, and she ended up off the trail, probably about 30 or 40 feet off the trail, down about a 20 degree slope,” he said. 

A ropes team was sent in to rescue the woman, which featured members of the U.S. Forest Service and OEM personnel, Le Roux noted.

“My understanding was it was a pretty bad break,” Le Roux said of the woman’s injury. 

Between two missions, OEM personnel were on scene from 12:30 to 5 p.m. on July 21, Le Roux added later.