Gallatin County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue Deputies with Gallatin County Search and Rescue volunteers including; Sheriff’s Posse, Big Sky SAR, and SAR Hams, Helicopter Rescue and Alpine Team with the help of Gallatin Gateway Fire Dept, US Forest Service Law Enforcement, and AMR ambulance were dispatched at 3:15 this afternoon to the report of a horseback riding accident in the Spanish Creek area. An adult female had been kicked by a horse and there was strong suspicion that her leg was broken. Dispatch was not able to call the reporting party back for quite some time, so little information was received initially. It was determined that the patient and her party of three other riders were well off the road, approximately 4.5 miles of trail away from the Spanish Creek trailhead. The decision was made to launch the Reach Air medical helicopter based on the extended ground rescue response time to a potentially severe injury. Since 9-1-1 was called from a cell phone, coordinates of the location were immediately available to dispatchers, and they quickly forwarded the information to the helicopter dispatch. While ground crews responded to the trailhead to stage for a possible ground rescue, the Reach helicopter responded, and located the patient in a clearing. The helicopter landed and assessed the 60 year old female by approximately 4:05.
The female was given pain medication and prepped for flight transport to Bozeman Health. The Reach Air crew members also assisted the remaining three horseback riders get loaded up for the trip back to the trailhead. The helicopter was headed to the hospital at about 5:10. A team of ground rescuers accompanied a concerned family member up the trail to meet the riders, and the entire group reached the trailhead safely at 6:00. The patient was to undergo surgery for a broken tibia/fibula this evening.
Sheriff Gootkin reminds people to always be prepared for the unexpected when recreating in wilderness settings. This group’s ability to call 9-1-1 from their cell phone resulted in rescuer’s ability to quickly determine the patient’s location, and to get to her in a very timely manner.