CW2 Benjamin Ingraham was flying a training mission in a Black Hawk helicopter the afternoon of February 18th when he and his crew from 2nd Battalion, 4th Aviation Regiment, 4th Combat Aviation Brigade, Fort Carson, CO, saw a group of hikers stranded behind Cheyenne Mountain.
“They were waving at us … it looked kind of strange and it looked like they were stuck,” Ingraham said. The two men, one woman and two dogs had been stranded since the night before when their vehicle got stuck in more than a foot of snow near a reservoir behind the mountain. They spent the night at more than 10,000 feet and couldn’t call 911 because they couldn’t get cell service. Flight medic, SSG Jose M. Pantoja said, “They looked tired; being at that altitude it takes a toll on your body, even though you may not feel it.” He said the group had not had anything to eat or drink for about 12 hours.
The rescue was unexpected. “What started off as a mission ended up being a real-world incident,” Pantoja said. The hikers and their dogs were not injured. They were checked out by firefighters at Fort Carson and released. —Ms. Daneta J. Johnson, Fort Carson Public Affairs Office