Off-trail Hiker on South Zapata Trail – May 22, 2023

On May 22nd, AVSAR Leadership received a call in regards to a woman who was witnessed screaming for help off route on the Zapata Trail. The reporting party stated that she was hiking up the Zapata trail and suddenly heard a woman screaming for help and screaming to call 911. She was unable to access the woman to assist. AVSAR was deployed immediately. REACH71/Guardian1 was requested for aerial support to assist in locating the woman in distress and to insert AVSAR team members for the rescue operation.

With weather quickly approaching, REACH71 flew over the reported area where the woman was seen and spotted her immediately. Once at Incident Command, REACH71 picked up one AVSAR team member and located a landing zone approximately 200 yards away from the woman. The AVSAR team member inserted into the field and assisted the woman into the helicopter and stayed on scene for the helicopter to bring the woman back to IC. REACH71 then extracted the AVSAR Team member.

Once back at IC, the woman explained that she was out on a day hike up the Zapata trail, got very off route, and quickly became lost. In the process, the woman lost her phone, her only Navigation tool, and ended up having to spend the night in the backcountry, unprepared. She made several attempts to find the trail again but was unsuccessful in her attempts.

This is a great reminder to remember to carry the ten essentials anytime you are venturing into the back country and to never rely on only one form of navigation.

All team members were out of the field by 1615hours.

We can not thank the Alamosa County Sheriff’s Office and REACH Air Medical Services Eagle Air Med enough for their assistance on this mission.