Hurt Routt County man picked up by Flight for Life helicopter

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— A 44-year-old Routt County man was taken from the North Routt backcountry by a Flight For Life helicopter Saturday night after injuring his leg in a snowmobiling accident.

Routt County Search and Rescue was paged at about 4:45 p.m. Saturday after one of the man’s riding companions called 911 to report the injury, Search and Rescue incident commander Kristia Check-Hill said. The group of four Routt County men, who Check-Hill described as experienced snowmobilers, were riding in the Quaker Mountain area of California Park. It is thought that the injured man’s snowmobile rolled over on top of him, resulting in the lower leg injury.

The man’s name was not released, but Check-Hill said his injuries were not thought to be life-threatening.

After the accident, one of the man’s riding partners snowmobiled to an area with cell phone coverage and called 911. The other two men stayed with their friend and built a fire. They also had a cabin nearby in Quaker Mountain Estates and returned there to retrieve some blankets, Check-Hill said.

A five-person Search and Rescue team met one of the men along Routt County Road 80 and followed him into the backcountry location where the injured man was resting. They arrived on scene at 6:30 p.m.; the Flight For Life helicopter was on scene five minutes later.

Check-Hill said the Frisco-based Flight For Life helicopter crew was called at the request of the injured man and because it would have been a long, bumpy snowmobile ride out of the backcountry for him otherwise. Check-Hill said the Search and Rescue team had to snowmobile about 16 miles from the staging area to reach the injured man.

The rescue effort was aided by the preparedness of the snowmobiling party and good weather conditions, Check-Hill said. The men were able to provide exact GPS coordinates of their location, as well as find cell phone coverage and build a fire.

“They definitely had all the right tools,” she said. “They were mature individuals.”

The injured man was flown to Yampa Valley Medical Center, where his condition is unknown.

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