Paragliding accident leads to rescue mission

By Chris Mannara
Staff Writer

A male subject who was involved in a paragliding accident in the area of Treasure Mountain required rescue and assistance from local agencies around 5:20 p.m. on the evening of July 31.

“I’m not exactly sure what happened in the launch, but it seems like once he launched, his wing was compromised in some way and he went over and kind of landed in the tree line just below the cliff band,” Office of Emergency Management (OEM) Director Mike Le Roux said in an interview on Monday.

The man was able to make a call to 911 for help, and OEM personnel were able to speak with the man and get GPS coordinates for his location, Le Roux noted.

“We mobilized a team, we headed up in that direction. We accessed the area through I think it’s called Falls Creek, Forest Service Road 039,” Le Roux said. “We took the team in on one ATV and two side-by-sides. We managed to get gear and equipment to a particular location. I would suppose a quarter mile below his location, but it was almost vertical at that point.”

Another team was sent out to make patient contact, do a patient assessment and stabilize him, Le Roux noted.

The rest of the team accessed the male subject through a crevice through the use of a rope ladder, he added.

“We could climb up there and get resources up to him,” Le Roux said. “When we got up there, we were able to establish a landing zone at about 11,200 feet. It was a treeless knoll platform that we were able to land Flight For Life in.”

Flight For Life was called around 8:30 p.m., according to Le Roux, adding that they left with the patient around 11:30 p.m.

Final resources left the scene at around 1 a.m., Le Roux added later.

Le Roux did not know what kind of injuries the male subject sustained during the accident.

Along with OEM, Upper San Juan Search and Rescue, Pagosa Springs Medical Center EMS, and Mineral County Search and Rescue assisted in the mission, according to Le Roux.

This story was posted on August 12, 2020.