Rider fell from horse

June 14, 1979
Willow Creek Drainage

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By John Dew

It was the last day of school and we who are teachers, as well as the children, were looking forward to the end of the day so we could be on our way home for the summer vacation.

We were to get out early that day, and this too, was a happy thought. The last thing to cross my mind as the end of the year party was drawing to a close and grade cards were being handed out was a rescue mission .... But, Sure Enough .... the pager came alive to tell us there was work to do. The call was to the Banning airport where we would be met by Don Landells, our good friend and respected helicopter pilot, flying his Jet Ranger.

TEAM BACKBOARD - injured Patrick Conners is moved to the teams Stokes litter. (photo by Jim Fairchild)We had heard that Patrick Conners, a horseback rider who had been riding in high country with several others including his eleven year old son, had fallen from his horse and injured his back. They were riding on the trail where it had been built up by some rocks. The rocks started to relocate themselves as the weight of the horse was introduced and Patrick felt that the horse was going to bolt and he had better get off. As he was making his unceremonious departure the animal did indeed take a spill, rolled a time or two and got up and ran away. The worst part was it left Patrick in an immobile condition, thus RMRU was called in.

The bird landed in Banning and Walt Walker, Tony Loro and John Dew were flown in first. The subject was soon Spotted and the problem of finding a place to land and let us out presented itself. After surveying the area for several minutes it was decided to let Tony and John out on a big rock up at Hidden Lake saddle and they could hike down to the subject. Walt was flown closer to the subject as there was a place one person could be let out but three made too much weight for that particular spot. By Walt being taken closer it insured faster first aid attention.

A quick examination of the subject told us he had a fractured pelvic area and probably some fractured ribs.

Jim Fairchild and Kevin Walker came in and brought additional equipment on the next load. The injured man was placed on a back board and into a Stokes litter and secured for his flight out.

We needed all the help we could get to move the litter to the spot where it could be picked up by the helicopter so we used two State Park rangers who were there, Rick Brown and Ken Gray, and also two other hikers, a Marine, Dan Shupe from Oceanside and his brother, Mark, from Frostburh, Md.

TIGHT HELESPOT - RMRU members aided by State Park Rangers and hikers, place the litter with injured Patrick Conners into Dons Jet Ranger. (photo by Jim Fairchild)With this extra help we soon had Patrick to the spot of the pickup. Kevin was sent out to the hospital with him as this helispot called for the lightest person available.

The park rangers and Dan and Mark Shupe then continued on to their destination of Round Valley and those of us from RMRU hiked over to Skunk Cabbage Meadow to be flown back to Banning where Ed Hill, Don Chambers, Jim Garvey, and Steve Zappe were manning base for us.

This ended another successful mission for RMRU and another grateful person that we were able to help.