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Montezuma Road Rollover and Rescue

Vehicle Rollover on Montezuma Basin Road Leads to Helicopter Rescue on July 4th

Pitkin County, Colorado – A dramatic rescue operation unfolded on Montezuma Basin Road on Independence Day after a vehicle rollover required a coordinated response from multiple emergency services.

At approximately 2:45 PM, the Pitkin County Regional Emergency Dispatch Center received an Apple Crash Alert from the Montezuma Basin area, a rugged region about five miles southeast of Aspen accessible only by high-clearance, four-wheel-drive vehicles. The Aspen Fire Protection District quickly deployed specialized equipment to navigate the challenging terrain. Concurrently, Mountain Rescue Aspen mobilized teams and equipment from the CB Cameron Rescue Center in Aspen.

A secondary alert from a Garmin inReach device confirmed a vehicle rollover with one injured patient. Responders located the vehicle, which had rolled approximately 130 feet into the river basin, and stabilized the sole occupant, who was injured.

Due to the severity of the patient’s injuries and the challenging location, a helicopter rescue was deemed necessary. Care Flight of the Rockies attempted to land in the area but was hindered by the mountainous terrain. Ultimately, a Blackhawk helicopter from the Colorado Air National Guard’s High Altitude Aviation Training Site (HAATS) team successfully conducted a long line rescue. The patient was airlifted to Pitkin County Airport (Sardy Field), where Aspen Ambulance District personnel transferred them to Aspen Valley Hospital for further care.

Acknowledgments and Warnings

The Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office expressed gratitude to the volunteer team from Mountain Rescue Aspen, the Aspen Fire Protection District, Aspen Ambulance District, Care Flight of the Rockies, and the Colorado Air National Guard’s HAATS for their coordinated efforts in the successful rescue operation.

The Sheriff’s Office also emphasized the inherent dangers of remote regions in Pitkin County, noting that cell phone service is often unavailable. They urged the public to exercise caution and to be well-prepared for emergencies when venturing into these areas.

Safety Tips and Lessons Learned

  1. Equip Properly: Ensure your vehicle is suitable for rugged terrain. High-clearance, four-wheel-drive vehicles are essential for areas like Montezuma Basin Road.

  2. Carry Emergency Devices: Use devices such as Garmin inReach or similar for reliable communication in areas without cell service.

  3. Stay Informed: Understand the terrain and potential hazards before you travel. Inform someone of your travel plans and expected return.

  4. Be Prepared: Carry a well-stocked emergency kit, including first aid supplies, water, and food.

  5. Know Your Limits: Assess the risks accurately and avoid dangerous areas if you are not fully equipped or experienced.

By adhering to these guidelines, adventurers can enjoy the beauty of Pitkin County’s remote areas while staying safe.

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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