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Chaffee County North End Search and Rescue respond to injured hiker on Missouri Mountain.


Salida, Colorado

For immediate release, Thursday, June 4, 2015

At 12:04 p.m. today, the Chaffee County Communications Center received a broken 911 call from a party who had fallen during his decent of Missouri Mountain. Dispatchers were able to establish correspondence via text messaging with the injured party and ascertained that he had fallen approximately 40 feet down a couloir while glissading between the summit of Missouri Mountain and Elkhead Pass. Twenty-three year old Ben Ficke, most recently of New York, reported that he sustained severe lacerations to one arm, cuts and bruises to the other arm, and a broken ankle.

Due to the nature of his injuries, a Flight For Life helicopter was called in to assist in locating and extracting Mr. Ficke. Flight For Life was able to visually locate Mr. Ficke, but the rugged terrain prevented them from landing. A three member Search and Rescue Team was flown in to a landing zone approximately half a mile from Mr. Ficke. The three member team hiked up to Mr. Ficke, provided necessary medical treatment and were able to hike him down to the helicopter; Mr. Ficke was transported by Flight For Life to Summit County Medical Center. During the Rescue Operation, one of the Search and Rescue members began suffering from Acute Mountain Sickness, a.k.a. altitude sickness. A second Flight For Life helicopter was summoned and flew to the aid of the rescuer, airlifting him from Missouri Mountain. Upon reaching lower elevations, the rescuer was treated by Chaffee County EMS personnel and then was released.

Approximately 19 members of North and South End Search and Rescue responded to the area, plus 4 support staff. Search and Rescue was assisted by two members of the Chaffee County Sheriff’s Office, the Chaffee County Office of Emergency Management, Chaffee County Fire Protection District, and Chaffee County Emergency Medical Services.