Posted: Wednesday, August 24, 2016 9:53 am
Buena Vista – A Salida prospector pinned under a rock near the summit of Mount Antero was rescued Saturday afternoon by Chaffee County Search and Rescue and other emergency responders.
Justin Morrison, 44, suffered injuries to the left side of his chest, hip and lip. Rescuers learned that Morrison was injured while prospecting after a large boulder fell on him, a press release from the Chaffee County Sheriff’s Office stated.
Chaffee County Search and Rescue North members received a page around noon Saturday, after hikers in the area heard cries for help and were able to make cell contact.
Scott Anderson, Search and Rescue North vice president, said the incident happened at around 13,500 feet. Members of both Chaffee County teams arrived near the top of CR 272 around 12:45 p.m. and began rescue operations to reach Morrison, who was about 100 feet below the road in rough and rocky terrain.
“ATVs headed up first, but once it was known it would be a more technical rescue, a member’s personal vehicle transported EMS and some ropes up (the road),” Search and Rescue North member Nancy Anderson said.
Once rescuers reached Morrison, Anderson said they were able to make it back up to the road, where a REACH Air Medical Services helicopter was able to land nearby.
A helicopter transported Morrison from the mountain around 4:30 p.m.
Morrison has been featured on the “Prospectors” reality TV mining series on The Weather Channel, according to his Facebook page.
“I was completely pinned, in extreme pain,” Morrison told Matt Kroschel with CBS4 news. “My buddy was screaming for help, and other people out on the mountain heard the calls and were able to get search and rescue crews alerted to the situation.
Morrison suffered a broken hip, several broken vertebrae and a broken ankle. He was in surgery at a Colorado Springs hospital Monday, CBS4 reported.
Anderson said incidents like this serve as a reminder to always be prepared when venturing into the backcountry.
“It is hugely important for people to be prepared to stay out for a length of time. It can take hours for someone to be evacuated,” Anderson said and added it took around 4 hours to safely conclude this particular rescue.
Residents and visitors heading to the backcountry should also purchase a Colorado Outdoor Recreation Search and Rescue (CORSAR) card, which allows for Search and Rescue to be reimbursed for rescue expenses, Anderson said. Hunting, fishing and some other licenses already contribute to this fund.