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Injured Hunter Rescued After 100-Foot Fall Near Goodwin Lake Trail by Custer County SAR

Custer County, CO – Custer County Search and Rescue (SAR), alongside various other organizations, successfully conducted a demanding rescue operation for an injured hunter on September 8, 2023. The individual had fallen approximately 100 feet down a steep, rocky slope near the Goodwin Lake trail. Given the complicated nature of the terrain and the severity of the hunter’s injuries, the operation involved a coordinated response from multiple agencies.

Due to the urgency of the situation, Lifeguard 4 helicopter from Flight For Life Colorado was called in to expedite the team’s journey to the location of the injured hunter. A subsequent hoist rescue was performed by Colorado Army National Guard’s Rescue Techs from the Colorado Hoist Rescue Team, who successfully transported the injured party to the CCSAR Search Base. From there, Lifeguard 3 took over the operation, transporting the subject to a Colorado Springs hospital for further treatment.

Special recognition was given to the Flight Nurse from Lifeguard 4, who hiked into the hazardous area alongside the ground teams, providing crucial medical care throughout the mission. This collaborative approach showcased “the true essence of teamwork and agency partnership,” said Custer County SAR in their press release. Thanks were also extended to the Colorado Search and Rescue Association, Colorado Army National Guard, Colorado Hoist Rescue Team, and Flight For Life for their support and assistance.

Lessons Learned and Safety Tips

This incident serves as a stark reminder of the inherent risks involved in backcountry hunting and hiking, particularly off-trail. Rescue operations in the rugged terrains of Colorado can be arduous and time-consuming. Therefore, it is essential for individuals to be well-prepared when venturing into such areas.

  • Communication: Always carry a reliable two-way communication device, as immediate contact with rescue services can be crucial.

  • Adequate Supplies: Make sure to pack sufficient clothing, food, and water, as it can take hours for rescuers to reach you, even in the best circumstances.

  • Immediate Action: If you find yourself in an emergency, don’t hesitate to call for help right away. The injured hunter in this instance was able to maintain contact via cell phone, expediting the rescue.

  • Be Aware of Your Surroundings: Pay close attention to the terrain, especially when moving off-trail. The risk of falling and sustaining injuries increases substantially in rocky, steep areas.

  • Know Emergency Numbers: Ensure you have the numbers of local emergency services, as you might be out of your usual jurisdiction.

  • Safety Training: Consider taking basic wilderness first aid courses and familiarize yourself with the use of emergency beacons.

The ordeal underlines the importance of adequate preparation and immediate action in the event of an emergency. As outdoor enthusiasts, taking responsible steps can make all the difference when things go awry. Exercise caution and be prepared to ensure that your outdoor adventures are safe and enjoyable. Learn more with our mountain safety guide.

Support search and rescue by purchasing a Colorado Search and Rescue (COSAR) Card.

Alex Derr, Founder of The Next Summit

Alex Derr is an Eagle Scout, climber, and environmental policy expert located in Denver, Colorado. He created The Next Summit to help others stay safe exploring the mountains and advocate to preserve the peaks for the future. Follow him on Linkedin or Twitter or click here to contact him.

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Hi, I'm Alex!

In 2018, I watched in disbelief as dozens of people hiked into a storm on Longs Peak, unaware of the extreme danger. Soon after, I started The Next Summit to educate and empower the public to safely and responsibly explore America's mountains.

Learn more about how we protect public lands and prevent SAR calls through education & advocacy.

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