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Wildlife hiker gets rescued after fall

LAWTON, Okla_A father-son Thanksgiving day trip to the mountains took an awful turn after the father slipped from a cliff and was seriously injured.

Paramedics were called to the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge Thanksgiving morning, just south of Quanah Parker lake dam, after they were told a man had fallen fifteen feet and had hit his head. Rescuers found the man, who had suffered several broken bones but was still conscious.

Wildlife refuge officials say the area the father and son were hiking was along a popular hiking trail.

Matt Belew, a Federal Wildlife Officer, tells us why it's so popular.

"Just because it's close access to Lawton and other towns," he says, "such as Cache that's nearby. These individuals were kind of off the beaten path but going to a familiar area."

Even though the areas are popular, finding a victim isn't always easy. Thankfully was not the case today.

"98 to 95 percent of the rough terrain out there," he tells us, "you're not going to be able to make a cell phone call from that. The fact that he was able to do so so quickly had a pretty significant impact on us getting to them a lot faster than he would having to drive all the back to cell phone range."

When emergency crews respond to accidents here in the Wichita mountains one their biggest concerns is the rocky terrain.

"Anytime we receive a call for a possible head injury we want to assess a medical evacuation by helicopter however that terrain is hard to deal with for that."

This time, luckily, crews were able to identify a landing spot to get the injured man to safety quickly.

"Many times that's not possible," Belew says, "we'll have to secure the injured person on a litter and extract him by hand."

The man was flown to Comanche County Memorial Hospital where he is recovering and in  stable condition.

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