Hiker falls from cliff in San Lorenzo Canyon
An Easter outing nearly turned tragic when a 33-year old woman fell 25 feet while hiking in San Lorenzo Canyon and had to be transported by helicopter to a hospital in Albuquerque.
About 2 p.m. on Sunday, emergency personnel responded to the entrance of the canyon after a 911 call came in regarding the accident.
BLM Law Enforcement Ranger Marc Wheeler said he was at a grass fire in San Acacia, along with Ben Landford, from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from Bosque del Apache, when the call came in.
Wheeler said Henry Vega, who was with the group that included the victim, road an ATV out of the canyon in order to attain cell phone service so he could make the 911 call.
However, because of the terrain, the ambulance was unable to get to the scene of the accident and had to wait while the victim was transported to the entrance of the canyon in the back of a pickup truck. Wheeler said the people with the injured hiker had placed her on a flat table and were keeping her neck stable as they drove her to where the ambulance was waiting.
Although BLM Deputy Chief of the office of External Affairs Donna Hummel did not have the complete report on the incident, she said in a phone interview Monday that “The victim attempted to climb up the cliff face.”
Hummel said the victim complained of pain in her neck, lower back and right arm.
The beauty of San Lorenzo Canyon can be deceiving and in certain areas treacherous if a person is not prepared for the conditions, and Hummel said often times people go out there and may not anticipate wanting to “poke around.”
Hummel said the victim was wearing flip flops at the time of the accident, and that could have been a contributing factor in the fall, although she stressed she was not blaming the injured hiker.
“I just want to encourage people to dress appropriately with proper footwear, especially in undeveloped areas like San Lorenzo Canyon,” Hummel said.
Wheeler said the hiker was transported to Lemitar where she was taken by helicopter to a hospital in Albuquerque.
He said the hiker was lucky she didn’t sustain worse injuries because the terrain was very rocky and a large boulder was near where she landed after falling off the cliff.
“She could have hit her head,” Wheeler said.
The identity of the victim and the extent of her injuries were not available.
Contact Jackie Schlotfeldt