CATRON COUNTY — On Sunday, August 18, 2013 at 3:05 pm; New Mexico State Police District Eleven (Socorro District) was informed of a lost hiker in the Gila National Forrest.
The reporting person advised State Police that his brother was missing and was last seen on Saturday, August 17, 2013 at 2:00 pm. The reporting person further stated his brother had a fall from a horse two days prior and may still be suffering from the injuries.
NMSP initiated a Search and Rescue. NM SAR ground teams began to deploy and started searching the area immediately. The NMSP Aircraft (ABLE 6) was also called in to assist in the aerial search.
On Sunday, August 18, 203 ABLE 6 flew out to the search area but was unable to make the complete trip due to multiple thunderstorms encountered while en route. ABLE 6 then returned to the hangar in Santa Fe NM. ABLE 6 then launched for this mission on Monday morning, August 19, 2013.
Once in the search area, the aircrew made contact with the SAR ground incident base command and received a tasking requesting a search within a group of coordinates. During this search, an ABLE 6 crew member visually located the lost hiker.
The aircrew communicated with the hiker using the Public Address system (PA) and determined he was communicating and cooperating. The aircrew was able to locate a suitable landing zone approximately .25 miles away from the hiker's location. An ABLE 6 crew member deployed from ABLE 6 to the location of the hiker and brought him back to the helicopter.
The hiker was provided water and taken to an ambulance waiting at the Truth or Consequences airport. Ambulance personnel determined there was a need to transport the hiker to the hospital.
The New Mexico State Police Air Craft Wing plays an integral part within the State Police Agency. ABLE 6 and its crew members are always willing to answer the call for service, when they are needed. The crew members take time from their personal schedules and families, constantly, to provide quality service for those in need of assistance.