KUSA - GOLDEN, CO - Rescue crews have extricated a hiker who was trapped under a 1,500-pound boulder on North Table Mountain.
Golden Police say the 30-year-old woman suffered multiple fractures. After she was walked on a stretcher to a rope system, she was flown via helicopter to get medical attention.
According to Golden Fire, the woman was in Colorado for a conference. She was visiting from Europe.
Through mutual friends she met her hiking partner Wednesday. The pair was on a trail looking for a place to climb when a rock fell crushing the lower half of her body.
Her friend told firefighters, they were on their way back when they heard a crack and he saw a boulder falling from about 30 feet above them. He said the rock missed him by about five feet.
That friend then ran to get help and came across two paramedics from Littleton Fire who were were hiking on their day off. They went up to the victim and provided support as best they could while another nearby hiker ran downhill to call 911.
"One of the hikers who happened to stumble upon on this agreed to run down the hill and call 911. As he was running down there were two paramedics with Littleton Fire who happened to be hiking in the area," said Karlyn Tilley with Golden Fire Rescue.
Those paramedics were the first ones to reach the woman before the first 911 calls came in.
"In such an unfortunate situation it was extremely fortunate," said Tilley.
According to Littleton Fire, the paramedics who helped, did not want to be identified. They said they just happened to be at the right place at the right time. They stayed with the woman until rescue crews arrived.
Within 15 minutes other rescue crews showed up and over the next several hours worked to save the woman who was trapped. Crews used hydraulic equipment and airbags to lift the boulder. They then carefully carried the woman to the top of the mesa, around a 45-minute hike, where a helicopter was waiting to airlift her to the hospital.
The woman has several broken bones but during her rescue, her vital signs were fairly stable.
The patient, being walked out now, is a 30 year old female. She is unconscious but her vitals are fairly good.— Golden Fire (@GoldenCOFire) April 5, 2017
We spoke with one of her rescuers about the complicated effort to free her.
Lt. Jeff Hulse with Golden Fire said, "We hiked from the south side which was a very slippery really muddy trail. and with the size of the rock that hit her we needed to have some pretty good gear up there. I'll remember this. It's a pretty large scale event."
It's not clear why the boulder fell, but Golden Fire says the wet weather could have played a role if it made the soil moist enough.
The trail heads were opened back up after the rescue mission was done.
Rescue crews saying this was a very rare and tragic accident.
© 2017 KUSA-TV