Denver residents save a life near Green Mountain Reservoir
SUMMIT COUNTY ” Denver resident Ari Hoffman was not expecting to hear screams for help when he and a friend embarked on a camping trip near the Green Mountain Reservoir near Heeney.
On a morning in early April, the two friends drove up from Denver to enjoy a leisurely day of hiking. They parked their car near the Green Mountain Dam and got ready to begin their hike ” that was, until they heard a voice below.
“It was really faint, but we heard someone yelling ‘I broke my leg’ over and over,” said Hoffman. “We thought it was coming from the other side of the reservoir so we drove over the dam …”
As rain began to fall, the two men searched for the source of the voice only to discover it was coming from directly below where they had originally parked.
They immediately returned to their previous location and began yelling down the embankment of the reservoir toward the voice.
“We started climbing down the embankment and saw this guy laying there with his leg buried in the snow in an attempt to reduce the swelling,” Hoffman said.
The man was attempting to climb down the dam when he slipped and injured his leg.
Alone in a remote area, the man was approaching hypothermia as the weather took worsened, and his desperate cries for help were the only tools he had to help save himself.
“We didn’t have a lot of emergency experience but we tried to stay calm and take care of him in the best way we could,” said Hoffman. Their first order of business was calling 911.
“We also put a sleeping bag and fleece around him because he was only in jeans and a T-shirt, and it was beginning to snow,” Hoffman added.
Given the remoteness of the area, it took a little more than 20 minutes for Summit County Ambulance crews to arrive and evaluate the fisherman’s injuries. Crews from Lake Dillon Fire-Rescue, Summit County Rescue Group, and the Summit County Sheriff’s Office also responded to the scene to help transport the man to safety.
In order to pull the man up from the embankment, emergency responders utilized an uphaul system and stokes basket to safely get the injured man into the ambulance.
According to Tony Steele with Summit County Ambulance, the two men that found the fisherman did everything appropriately, and he was calm and in stable condition when medical personnel arrived.
“The fact that these two guys were in the area and able to hear the man’s screams is remarkable,” said Brandon Williams with Lake Dillon Fire-Rescue. “The area they were in is not heavily traveled and it was really lucky they were there at the right time.”
Some may call it luck, some may call it a coincidence, but those who responded to the scene all agree that had the two men not been passing through the area and heard the man’s cries for help the outcome would have been vastly different.
“As an Orthodox Jew, I consider this whole story to be one of divine intervention,” said Hoffman. “To see the look in this guy’s eyes when he saw us coming to help him … you could tell he had the biggest feeling of relief.”
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