Posted at: 05/24/2013 9:40 PM
Updated at: 05/24/2013 10:29 PM
By: Danielle Todesco, KOB Eyewitness News 4
Search and Rescue officials are always on-call to help out hikers, especially during a busy holiday weekend like Memorial Day. This year, it kicked off with a rescue.
An elderly man had to be helped down from the Sandia Mountains after falling and hitting his head. Officials said he is lucky he was not hiking alone.
82 year old Charles Arnold walked down the mountain with rescue crews to the Elena Gallegos camping site after falling. His was a happy ending, but rescue officials say this should serve as a warning to others headed up the mountain to be prepared for anything.
"Based on the initial information that we had...a person with potential head injury and lots of bleeding, we had full court press," NM State Police Search and Rescue Incident Commander Bob Baker said.
They had the Albuquerque Fire Department, APD Open Space, NM State Police Search and Rescue, along with the National Guard helicopter on standby to airlift the man out. Fortunately, Arnold didn't need to be airlifted.
Officials say Arnold and his 2 grandkids were well prepared for their several hour hike up to the TWA crash site. They say Arnold just lost his footing on the way back down.
"It is not unprecedented to have this kind of event early in a holiday weekend," Baker said.
Baker said it should serve as a warning to others to make sure they're just as prepared for the unexpected. He said Arnold and his family had plenty of water and supplies and his granddaughter has even had some rescue training. But there are a few other things baker advises.
"We have had people die of hypothermia in the middle of summer on the mountain," Baker said. So pack a jacket or blanket in case you get stuck overnight.
Arnold was lucky to get out before sundown. Meanwhile, headed into the same exact spot after Arnold was taken out was a father and his daughters. They said they are ready.
"We know a number of people who have hiked up there before. We do know that there's a fairly significant climb in some areas and you can lose your footing," Chuck Breinholt said.
Baker said it appeared Arnold just had some cuts on his head, but he was taken to the hospital to be fully checked out.