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RAW: Injured woman, 75, lifted by chopper out of backcountry

June 28, 2013

The Mono County Search and Rescue team on Tuesday, June 25, lifted a 75-year-old Swall Meadows woman off the Pacific Crest Trail after she suffered an ankle injury and was unable to walk out.

According to the Mono County Sheriff's Department, the woman was backpacking with her husband on a flat section of dirt trail when she rolled her left ankle.

A Sheriff's Department spokesperson said the woman "heard a pop and collapsed, experiencing severe pain.

"She was unable to put any weight on the limb and therefore was unable to walk out of the backcountry," the spokesperson said.

Her husband was able to make a flat area next to the trail where they could camp and await help.

They had a tent, food for the night, and did not plan to move from their location. The husband gave a note to a fellow hiker making his way back to Reds Meadow. The note stated that his wife had a broken ankle and was unable to walk out.

The hiker passed along the note when he arrived in Reds Meadow and called 911.

The area the victim was in was a remote area near the border of Fresno, Madera, and Mono Counties.

Madera County Sheriff’s Dispatch was notified and requested mutual aid from the Mono County Sheriff Search and Rescue (SAR) team.

The SAR team was called and the rescue effort was initiated. The Mono County SAR team also requested the assistance of the California Highway Patrol and their H40 helicopter. It was determined that the helicopter could not make contact with the victim until the next morning.

A SAR ground team was to hike into the victim, assess the victim and the area for a medical evacuation by air in the morning.

On the morning of Wednesday, June 26, at approximately 6:30 a.m., the SAR ground team located the victim and assessed her medical condition. The H40 helicopter was able to extract her by hoist with the aid of the ground team.

She was flown to Mammoth Lakes and transferred to Mono County Paramedics who took her to Mammoth Hospital for further treatment.

During this time, the SAR ground team assisted her husband in packing up and hiking him out to the Reds Meadow Trailhead. He returned safely home to meet his wife.

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