State News

Dec 30, 2013 9:06 AM

Man Rescued From Big Bend-Area Mountain Top

PRESIDIO - Authorities in West Texas say a man is lucky to be alive after he suffered a broken leg hiking up a mountain in Texas' remote Big Bend area.

Border Patrol authorities said Sunday the man, identified only as being from Houston, suffered a compound leg fracture while hiking with his wife and two others on San Jacinto Mountain, a nearly 5,000-foot peak north of Presidio.

Agents and an emergency medical technician from Presidio spent Friday night on the mountain top after weather conditions blocked a Texas Department of Public Safety helicopter from a rescue, agency spokesman Bill Brooks said.

A Border Patrol chopper was able to retrieve him later Saturday, Brooks said.

The man was taken to a hospital in Alpine and then transferred to El Paso. The man's wife was flown to a ranch in Presidio County and two other hiking companions made it down safely.

"Somebody in the party had a cellphone that worked from up there," Brooks said. "They're real lucky. In fact, the guy's lucky all around he didn't end up dead up there. They called sheriff's dispatch, and they notified fire department in the city of Presidio."

The city and county officials called the Border Patrol, Brooks said.

A Border Patrol medical technician, two fellow agents from the Presidio station and a Presidio medical technician climbed the mountain in the dark, reaching the injured man and his companions about midnight.

Brooks said after some initial treatment, the man was moved to a more comfortable location so he could be kept warm. Agents through the night gathered firewood while others carried supplies up the mountain on all-terrain vehicles and on foot.

They were joined by other rescuers who moved the injured climber to a spot where a helicopter could land.

"Climbing up a 5,000-foot mountain in the dark is not something we do every day," Deputy Chief Patrol Agent Carry Huffman said. "But when it's necessary to save a life, our agents can be counted on."

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