Hiker stumbled and severely injured elbow

May 27, 1978
Near Cedar Springs

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By Steve Jensen

A Memorial weekend backpack trip for a young woman from San Diego turned sour when she stumbled on the trail just above Cedar Springs on the Desert Divide. The resulting fall caused a severe trauma to her left elbow. She was unable to move so two members of her backpacking group hiked out and RMRU was called in.

Walt Walker and Jim Fairchild flew in to the poor lass and soon had her stabilized and in good spirits. She apparently suffered a fractured elbow and was in a mild state of shock. When the time to transport the subject came, the team faced a dilemma. Moving her 3/8 of a mile back to the ridge for evacuation by helicopter would involve a lot of pain and jostling. Alternatively, a "Helispot" could be created where she fell, but this would entail the removal of a fair amount of shrubbery. Once again the team acted in the best interest of the victim and the decision was made to create a helispot where she fell. The chain saw and brush hooks were brought into action and in no time a helispot was created, which even the Corps of Engineers would have been proud of. Soon afterwards, the helicopter (from Western) landed and within ten minutes the victim was at the hospital in Palm Springs.

A grateful acknowledgement is extended to the Hemet Search and Rescue Team for assistance on this mission.

Kevin Walker gave Helitac hand signals to Western Helicopters' pilot Bill Barrett while Walt Walker and Hal Fulkman helped the injured young woman to the waiting helicopter. (photo by Jim Fairchild)

Senior RMRU member and Emergency Medical Technician, Wait Walker, checked vital signs of the injured girl. (photo by Jim Fairchild)

Walt Walker passes the RMRU chain saw to his son Kevin Walker as they worked to clear brush for the needed helispot. (photo by Jim Fairchild)

Steve Jensen and Steve Vaughn, using brush cutting tools, also worked at clearing brush. (photo by Jim Fairchild)