On March 29th, 2021, around 3:00 pm, the Madera County Sheriff’s Office received a call for service regarding a female subject who had slipped and fallen along the Minarets in the Sierra National Forest.
The patient, a 35-year-old female from Seattle, WA, was on day two of a six-day group skiing trip along the crest of the Sierra. While skiing, the female fell and broke her left leg, rendering her unable to continue. The group was disabled at 10,500 ft elevation, less than three miles from Mount Ritter, the highest peak in Madera County.
The patient was on a professionally guided trip with four other people. The guide activated his Personal Locating Beacon (PLB), which provided two-way Satellite Text Messaging to reach out for help. This two-way ability provided Search and Rescue Deputies with critical information such as type of injuries, location, weather conditions, and clothing descriptions.
Due to the party’s remote location, SAR Deputies requested air support from the California Highway Patrol, who deployed helicopter H-40 to the area. The patient was located, loaded onto the aircraft, and transported to Mammoth Airport. She was then transferred by ground ambulance to treat her injuries at Mammoth Hospital in Mammoth Lakes, CA.
Extensive coordination is required to make missions like these successful. Thank you to agency partners, California Highway Patrol Air Operations, Mono County Sheriff’s Office, and United States Forest Service (Sierra & Inyo Forests) for their assistance during this rescue.
“Teamwork makes these incidents come together and allows us to serve those in need at the highest capacity. We are grateful this was a successful mission, and appreciate the partnership and collaborative efforts between our regional allied agencies.”
– Sheriff Tyson Pogue
MCSO would like to caution the public while hiking around rivers and streams in the coming weeks. With warmer temperatures in the forecast, the snow up high will melt and flow downstream. As always, the rocks are slippery, and water will not only flow faster, but water temperatures can be deadly cold. Please use extreme care around rivers & creeks.