Hiker rescued after fall from Summit County peak succumbs to injuries
A 65-year-old hiker who accidentally fell from the top of Mount Royal on Oct. 19 has died, according to the Summit County Coroner’s Office.
More than 18 days after he fell 20 feet from a tree at the top of one of Frisco’s most popular peaks, Michael Roberts was taken off life support; he died on Nov. 7. The cause of death was severe traumatic brain injury due to a fall, the coroner’s report stated.
At St. Anthony Hospital in Lakewood, according to the report, “it was determined the victim had sustained multi-trauma including brain contusion, subdural hematoma, subarachnoid hemorrhage, splenic laceration, and multiple bone fractures. After 18 days of intensive care, there had been no improvement in his neurological status.”
Two dozen members of the Summit County Rescue Group labored for more than four hours to transport Roberts to the base of Royal, where he was spirited away by a Flight for Life helicopter.
Spokesman Charles Pitman said such a death is rare for the rescue group.
“It’s tough on the team,” he said. “A lot of people give a lot emotionally to that. I think this may be the first one in my 10 or 11 years on the team, where we got someone out of the field and they die. It’s very rare where we bring one out and the individual later succumbs to their injuries.”
Because a Flight for Life helicopter was unable to find a spot to land back in October, rescuers had to stabilize Roberts on a wheeled litter, a kind of heavy-duty gurney designed for tough terrain, and slowly roll him down the precipitous, 1,500-foot drop to the trailhead below.
Six rescuers surrounded the litter — two on each side, one in back, another in front — as it made its way down the trail. Additional rescuers secured a rope to the apparatus to slow the descent.
Pitman said the transport was made more difficult because the hiker required “continuous advanced life support” because of the extent of his injuries.
More than four hours after first responding to the call, rescuers reached the bike path, Pitman said. An ambulance transported the hiker to Zach’s Stop, near the Peak One Neighborhood, where a Flight for Life helicopter was waiting. Roberts was then taken to St. Anthony Hospital.
Roberts is a Coloradan, but not a Summit County resident, Pitman said. He was hiking with another person when he fell, but that person was not injured in the incident.
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