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CO: Horse steps on hunter's chest

Hunter airlifted after accident
Search and Rescue conducts 2 operations Wednesday

Friday, October 17, 2008

Steamboat Springs - An injured hunter was airlifted out of the Beaver Flat Tops late Wednesday night after he was seriously injured when a draft horse stepped on his chest.

The unidentified 50-year-old man from the Castle Rock area was hunting on horseback with his two adults son in a remote area south of Hayden when the accident occurred at about 5:30 p.m., Routt County Search and Rescue member Darrel Levingston said.

"The horse got caught in a fence, got his foot stuck, and in trying to get it out, the horse fell over on top of him," Levingston said. "Then the horse got up and stepped on him."

The draft horse stepped on the man at least once, directly on the chest.

"He had multi-system trauma," Levingston said. "His injuries were pretty severe."

After Search and Rescue located the man, he was airlifted to Bob Adams Field by a helicopter crew from F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Wyoming.

The Air Force sent in a night vision-equipped Black Hawk helicopter for the job, after civilian flight crews turned down the rescue because of the remoteness of the Beaver Flat Tops and darkness, Levingston said.

"Because of the nature of his injuries, we were concerned that if we took him out our normal way, in a stokes basket, it could make his injuries worse and cause them to be life-threatening," Levington said.

The man was airlifted to Steamboat Springs at about 9:30 p.m. He then was transported to Yampa Valley Medical Center by an ambulance crew from Steamboat Springs Fire Rescue. The Routt County Sheriff's Office assisted with the search, as did the owners of nearby Beaver Creek Ranch.

"They were a tremendous help - they guided us back and forth, they helped transport gear, they fed us," Levingston said. "The owners of the ranch were just unbelievable."

An update on the man's condition wasn't available Thursday afternoon because law enforcement personnel with the authority to release the man's name could not be reached by the Pilot & Today. 

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