SUMMIT COUNTY, Colo. — Summit County rescuers had to snowmobile over a frozen Lake Dillon to reach a crashed paraglider this week.
The rescue happened Tuesday afternoon near Swan Mountain Road, according to Summit County Rescue Group (SCRG) Public Information Officer and Mission Coordinator Charles Pitman.
“They were on the last of their flights for the day, and evidently the victim did not have quite enough altitude and impacted a tree about 20-25 feet above the ground,” Pitman explained. “[He] fell down to the ground, and he was several hundred feet below Swan Mountain Road, but only 100 feet from the lake.”
According to SCRG’s Facebook post about the incident, two rescue teams responded from different directions to reach the 40-year-old male victim from Summit County.
“We had to stabilize him and figure out how to extricate him,” Pitman said. “Our options were an uphaul up to the road, or lower him down to the lake.”
“Our only concern about the lake was that the ice was thick enough for us to put several snowmobiles, personnel, medical equipment and that type of thing on,” Pitman added.
Pitman said one of the mission coordinators spoke to a firefighter who is also an ice fisher, and he helped them measure the thickness of the ice and determined it appeared safe enough to cross.
“They sort of took a snowmobile out there to tentatively make sure things felt good…to right where we would bring the victim down below the lake. And he said everything felt solid so we went from there,” Pitman said.
Once SCRG reached the victim, rescuers lowered him about 100 feet down to the frozen lake and transported him to an ambulance on a snowmobile. Pitman said the victim’s injuries were significant but they expect him to survive.
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