CALISTOGA (CBS SF) — A hiker, who was injured and trapped by a falling boulder in a heavily wooded area of Mt. St. Helena, was rescued early Tuesday by a California Highway Patrol helicopter crew who hiked through the wilderness aided by night vision cameras and flashlights.
The CHP said it received a 911 call at 2:20 a.m. from a hiker near the Oat Hill Trail (east of Calistoga) in the area known as the Palisades.
The hiker advised dispatch that he had been out hiking earlier in the afternoon when at approximately 5 p.m. a large boulder fell on him, pinning his backpack and right arm.
After several hours of laying under the boulder, the hiker was able to finally rip open his jeans pocket and remove his cellphone.
A CHP H-30 crew flew to the GPS coordinate provided by Cal Fire and located the downed hiker utilizing their FLIR system and night vision goggles. The hiker was able to signal the helicopter using a small flashlight. The location of the hiker was off trail and in extremely rugged terrain.
The crew conducted an off-site landing approximately one mile from the hiker’s location. Both officers then hiked through rugged terrain and reached the hiker.
After approximately 1 hour of hiking off trail, the crew reached the hiker. They quickly realized that they were not going to be able to get the hiker out due to the terrain and his injuries.
Fortunately, officials said, the hiker’s injuries were not life threatening and the crew determined a first light rescue was the most appropriate way to extricate the hiker.
As the crew members on the ground waited for daylight, they built a small fire with their survival gear and warmed the hiker as temperatures were in the low 30s.
Finally after sunrise, the crew was able hoist the injured hiker out of the area and transport him to a waiting ambulance at the Calistoga Fairgrounds. He was then transported to a local hospital. His condition was not released Wednesday.