Search and rescue workers in central California extricated a hiker who was trapped under a boulder weighing as much as 10,000 pounds for seven hours last week, authorities said Friday.
Inyo County Search and Rescue (SAR) said in a news release that its volunteers were called to the Inyo Mountains last Tuesday to help rescue a hiker whose legs were pinned beneath a massive boulder estimated to weigh between 6,000 and 10,000 pounds.
“Using a system of ropes, pulleys, and leverage, the SAR team was able to shift the boulder enough to free the hiker, and assess and stabilize his injuries,” the group said, sharing several photos of the rescue operation.
With the assistance of a California Highway Patrol helicopter, two members of the rescue team were lowered into the area where the hiker was trapped, while seven others navigated there on vehicles.
“The SAR team arrived at the hiker’s location well after dark, finding the hiker in great pain with his left leg pinned beneath a large boulder on a steep hillside,” the group said.
Instead of waiting until daylight, rescuers proceeded with the extrication immediately.
“Due to the seriousness of the hiker’s injuries and the difficulty of the terrain, it was decided to extricate the hiker despite the darkness using a helicopter from US Naval Air Station Lemoore,” the news release said. “[T]he injured hiker and medic were hoisted into the helicopter and flown to Fresno for treatment after midnight.”
Inyo County Search and Rescue did not immediately respond to requests for an update Monday on the hiker’s current condition. The hiker’s identity has not been shared, and it’s not clear how he ended up underneath it.
Temperatures in the Inyo Mountains dip into the mid-20s overnight this time of year.
Similar incidents have made news in recent years, but none have involved such heavy boulders. Authorities rescued a man whose legs and left arm were trapped beneath an approximately 4,000-pound granite boulder in Montana last year. And in September of this year, authorities rescued a New Jersey man trapped under a 200-pound rock.