On Wednesday, March 12, members of the Riverside Mountain Rescue Unit helped to bring an elderly woman out of the wilderness. Her husband had called 9-1-1 and indicated that she may have suffered a heart attack.
A full team of RMRU members was activated. Lee Arnson and Helene Lohr met the Riverside County Sheriff Department’s STAR 9 air crew at the Keenwild Ranger Station helibase. They were lowered to the trail on the west side of mountain.
“We didn’t know where she was,” Arnson said. But the helicopter found a 70-year-old female on the trail below the divide south of the mountaintop Tram Station. She was at about the 8,500-foot elevation, according to the sheriff’s press release.
Once they got to her, the rescuers knew she couldn’t walk out, especially since night was approaching. After calling for the aviation unit to return, they did walk her to a flat, open area. There, they reconfigured the equipment and all three individuals were hoisted into the helicopter in “one swoop,” Arnson related.
The helicopter flew her to the tram’s Palm Spring parking lot where her husband was awaiting for her.
“She refused the hospital trip,” Arnson said. The next day, Thursday, she called to thank him and confirmed that she had declined the hospital visit.
The woman and her husband had ridden the tramway to the mountaintop and began their hike from the Tram Station.
Upon hearing the rescue call, RMRU deployed a full team as support for Arnson and Lohr. In addition, Idyllwild residents Les Walker and Donny Goetz began searching for the hiker from Humber Park. After the helicopter located her, they remained on standby.