Updated: Saturday, 20 Aug 2011, 1:27 PM MDT
Published : Saturday, 20 Aug 2011, 1:27 PM MDT
ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - A New Mexico National Guard helicopter team performed a high-flying and risky rescue Friday lifting an injured climber from the craggy face of a nearly 11,000-foot mountain.
The initial emergency caller at about two p.m. said a woman rock climber had fallen about 50 feet off one of the upper cliffs in the Sandia Mountains above Albuquerque.
The woman, later identified by New Mexico State Police as Cynthia Adams, was rendered unconscious for a reported 30 minutes. A search-and-rescue spokesman said Adams, an experienced climber, is in her 50s.
The fall occurred high on the west face of Sandia Crest at about 10,000 feet elevation just below the tourist overlook and field of broadcast antennae.
Volunteers from Albuquerque Mountain Rescue including a paramedic and an emergency room physician hiked in and stabilized Adams.
The New Mexico Army National Guard dispatched a medevac helicopter from Santa Fe for the tricky aerial extraction and to quickly get Adams to a hospital.
Pilots skillfully maneuvered their Blackhawk into the rugged terrain while a medic was lowered in and then pulled out with the patient. During those critical minutes the crew hovered with rotor blades whizzing at times fewer than 10 feet from the rocky wall.
There are only two Guard Blackhawks in New Mexico right now while more than a dozen and their crews are off in Afghanistan doing similar duty there.
After Adams was safely on board the Guard crew delivered her to UNM Hospital in Albuquerque for treatment.
On Saturday a hospital spokesperson said Adams was in satisfactory condition. Details on what led to her fall have not yet been released.