FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 8, 2009 CONTACT: Capt Elena O'Bryan (720) 250-1050 Tech. Sgt. Cheresa D. Theiral (303) 549-4252 SAGUACHE COUNTY, Colo. - The Colorado National Guard was called to assist in the rescue of an injured hiker at 10:50 p.m. yesterday in the Sangre De Cristo mountain range in south central Colorado. Two hikers had spotted a solo male hiker who had fallen about 1500 feet down a slope and came to rest at approximately 12,600 feet on a 75-degree slope on the side of Challenger Point. The hikers then notified authorities. Seven Colorado Army National Guard Citizen Soldiers in a CH-47 Chinook helicopter, assigned to the Army Aviation Support Facility at Buckley Air Force Base in Aurora, Colo., flew to the scene to conduct the rescue in complete darkness using night vision goggles. The mission was considered high risk due to the necessity for a hoist on the steep and rugged slope at high elevation. "We had approximately 15 to 20 feet of clearance between our rotors and the side of the mountain while hovering," said Sgt. 1st Class Greg Riss. "The night vision goggles gave us the ability to see as if it were day," said Pilot Chief Warrant Officer-4 Curtis Hathcock. Sgt. Josh Moyer, medic, was hoisted down to assist the injured hiker. "It took an hour and a half to prepare the patient on the steep slope ... if the other two hikers hadn't been there to help Sgt. Moyer, the patient could have slid down another 1000 feet," Hathcock said. The hiker and medic were hoisted into the aircraft. The hiker was then safely transported to Cottonwood, Colo., and transferred to a civilian Flight-for-Life bound for Pueblo, Colo., at about 3:30 a.m. The CH-47 was chosen for this mission due to its ability to hover and maintain power during hoist operations at high altitudes above 12,000 feet. "Colorado Army National Guard helicopters can support life or limb Search and Rescue operations in conjunction with Civilian Emergency Rescue Service crews when the terrain or altitude makes landing a civilian EMS aircraft questionable. Our aircraft are equipped with internal and external rescue hoists and have superior altitude capability which improves safety. Once an external hoist rescue is completed, our aircraft expedite the patient to the nearest ground or air ambulance. Our aircraft aren't fully equipped with trauma equipment and medical personnel," said State Army Aviation Officer Col. Joel Best. The other crew members that assisted with the rescue were Pilot Chief Warrant Officer-4 David Gates, Flight Engineer Master Sgt. Greg Clancy, Flight Engineer Sgt. Ramon Arrazcata, and Crew Chief Spc. Nick Parrott. For nearly 150 years, the Colorado National Guard has served our nation in wartime and is the first military responder during state emergencies. CONG Citizen-Soldiers and Citizen-Airmen are always ready, always there to support civil authorities. Colorado National Guard rescue efforts are coordinated through the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center. The center ties in to the Federal Aviation Administration's alerting system and the U.S. Mission Control Center.