Our Latest News

Backcountry skier critical, airlifted by Flight For Life


On 05/10/14 at 1229 hrs the Chaffee County Communications Center received a distress signal from a personal, SPOT device. Communications center personnel immediately contacted the SPOT activation center and received GPS coordinates of the SPOT device as well as emergency contact information for the victim.

From the GPS coordinates it was determined that the distress signal was coming from the Mount Huron vicinity. Emergency contact persons verified that a male identified as Robert Burns, age 31, had travelled with another companion and was believed to be hiking/backcountry skiing in the Mt Huron area above Clear Creek Reservoir.

Chaffee County Deputy Marty Johnson responded to the vicinity and located vehicles belonging to the parties believed to be associated with the SPOT distress signal. Chaffee County Search and Rescue North was called and responded along with personnel from Chaffee County Search and Rescue South, State Parks and Wildlife and Chaffee County EMS.

When emergency personnel arrived in the vicinity of the trailhead they were contacted by Kyle Brengel, age 31, who related that he and Robert Burns had summited Mt Huron earlier in the day. Brengel stated that they were descending, skiing downhill, when they encountered a flat light situation and did not see a drop off. He stated that they skied off the 25 foot cliff and this is when Burns received his injuries. Bengel stated that Burns was unconscious but breathing. He then activated the SPOT device and headed out to find help.

Deputy Marty Johnson called Flight for Life who responded to the area. They were hampered by the incoming bad weather but eventually had a small window to fly to the victim. Flight for Life was able to load and transport the victim to the Summit County Medical Center. He was to then be transported to Saint Anthony’s Hospital in Denver by ground ambulance. Flight for Life personnel listed Robert Burn’s condition as critical.