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Tuesday, February 20, 2024

California hiker rescued after 7 hours pinned beneath a boulder that weighed at least 6,000 pounds

A man has been rescued after he spent seven hours pinned underneath a boulder weighing an estimated 6,000-10,000 pounds, a rescue group said Friday.

The Inyo County Sheriff’s Office was alerted about the trapped hiker on Tuesday afternoon, according to Inyo County Search & Rescue, a volunteer nonprofit rescue group. The man was pinned under a boulder located below Santa Rita Flat near Independence in the Inyo Mountains. The group did not say how the man became trapped.

The man was in “great pain” when rescue teams arrived that night, the rescue team said. His left leg was trapped under a boulder on a steep hillside with loose, rocky terrain, and the team used ropes and pulleys to shift the boulder enough so the hiker could be freed.

The rescue team said it felt the man needed to be airlifted and brought for medical care right away, but there were no landing zones nearby, so a U.S. Navy medic rappelled down from a helicopter and hoisted the injured hiker into the aircraft. The wounded man was flown to Fresno for treatment, the rescue group said.

“Challenges encountered on this mission included coordination of multiple agencies and resources; accessing an accident scene in steep, loose rocky terrain; using limited resources to move a large boulder; managing a severely injured patient for several hours while awaiting the helicopter extrication; assisting in a nighttime helicopter hoist; all in chilly December darkness,” Inyo County Search &Rescue said in a Facebook post.

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