For the second time this week, the Las Cruces Fire Department’s Technical Rescue Team has been called to help an individual who was in peril in a mountainous area.
On the morning of Monday, July 26, the Technical Rescue Team was asked to assist New Mexico State Police and Grant County Search and Rescue with a swift water rescue effort near the San Francisco River in northern Grant County. Mesilla Valley Search and Rescue and a U.S. Customs and Border Protection aircrew also assisted with the operation.
Search and rescue teams learned that heavy rains contributed to flooding, making the San Francisco River impassable to a man who became injured and stranded. The CBP helicopter crew located the stranded man and provided initial medical attention. The TRT and rescue teams then worked together to extricate the man to a safe location where he was then transported by Glenwood Fire and EMS ambulance to a regional hospital. The man injuries were relatively minor and not considered to be life-threatening.
On Tuesday, July 27, shortly before 8 p.m., LCFD’s Technical Rescue Team, Mesilla Valley Search and Rescue and the Organ Mountain Rescue team were asked to assist New Mexico State Police with the extrication of a 15-year-old boy who was injured along the Soledad Canyon Trail in the Organ Mountains.
Rescue team members learned the 15-year-old boy, who was hiking with his mother and two younger siblings, was injured when he fell while climbing the dam near the top of Soledad Canyon Trail. The boy suffered several injuries and was unable to move on his own. The boy’s mother and siblings were able to communicate with him, but they had no visual contact.
The rescue teams transported gear and medical supplies along the Soledad Canyon Trail and located the boy who suffered a broken tibia, fibula, and an ankle injury. The boy was stabilized and placed into a stokes basket before he was hoisted over the dam and carried down the trail. His mother and siblings were able to walk down the trail on their own.
The boy was transported to Mountainview Regional Medical Center by the Las Cruces Fire Department’s Squad 6. His injuries, while serious, are not considered to be life-threatening.
LCFD suggests following these and other safety tips:
- Know your capabilities, your limitations, and the terrain for which you will be hiking.
- Plan your trek carefully and take into consideration weather reports, the expected duration of your trek and other conditions which may be faced during your adventure.
- Never hike or backpack alone.
- Keep groups together unless it’s absolutely necessary to separate.
- Follow all signage and refrain from straying from established trails.
- Carry a fully charged cellular or satellite phone in case of an emergency. Avoid depleting a cell phone’s battery by overusing the camera function.
- Carry a flashlight and extra batteries.
- Tell a friend or relative where you are going and when you expect to return. If you have not returned by the designated time, they should know to contact authorities.
- Take plenty of water and food to sustain you during the trek.
- Keep in mind, warm daytime temperatures and relatively high elevations expend energy quickly.
- Wear proper attire for the trek. It’s best to dress in layers that can be easily removed – or added – depending on conditions.
- Wear a hat or proper head covering.
- Wear boots or hiking shoes that are comfortable and suitable for the terrain to be covered.
- Be aware of changing weather conditions and the potential for flash floods from rains that occur upstream from your location.
- Beware of snakes that are more active during warmer weather and as daytime temperatures rise. Snakebite victims should seek help immediately.
- Beware of wild animals that are known to frequent the Organ Mountains and mountainous areas of southern New Mexico: bobcats, mountain lions, coyotes, foxes, deer and African oryx. Never approach or attempt to handle a wild animal.
- If hiking with a dog, take into consideration its needs and safety requirements for the trek.
- Dispose of waste properly and use the “Pack it In, Pack it Out” motto to help keep wild areas pristine.