The Riverside Mountain Rescue Unit completed another all-night rescue of a badly injured hiker in the Marion Mountain Trail and Black Mountain drainage area. A father and son got off trail, lost and used a cell phone to summon help. Riverside County Sheriff's Department Hemet Station responded to the area of Marion Campground, Idyllwild, around 9:53 p.m. on Thursday, July 12.
A four member RMRU team, including three Idyllwild locals, Les Walker, Craig Wills and Ralph Hoetger got to the injured hiker around 3 a.m. He had fallen off the trail, punctured his leg and dislocated or separated his shoulder and was in no condition to hike out.
Recognizing that the hiker's injuries were serious, RMRU called for helicopter assistance. They located an area from which the hiker might be extracted, and carried him by litter to the location. At the time light drizzle and rain complicated rescue efforts.
At first light, a Sheriff's Department aviation unit was able to land and the four man RMRU team loaded him into the helicopter. He was taken to Keenwild Ranger Station and then to hospital by ambulance.
The copter returned for the son and RMRU team members. "Had the weather been worse, we would still be out there," said Walker. RMRU got back to base around noon, having completed another successful save.