ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A 10-year old girl is recovering in the hospital after a steep fall in the Sandia Mountains. She and her family are from Arizona and were in Albuquerque visiting for Balloon Fiesta.
“Made our way up the mountain to enjoy the beautiful scenery of Albuquerque,” says Nikki Polivka.
Polivka says the Sandia Tram was her family’s next stop after going to Balloon Fiesta on Saturday. “My daughter was having fun and running down a small part of the mountain,” she says.
However, her daughter, Kestal, gained a lot more momentum than she expected. “Lost her footing and fell, and rolled down the mountain. At the time, she hit her head,” says Polivka.
Luckily, bystanders were around to help call 911, and within minutes, the Bernalillo County Fire Department showed up. “It was a state of panic and screaming for help,” she says.
Polivka says Kesta was in and out of consciousness. She also suffered a depressed skull fracture. After undergoing surgery this morning, Polivka says Kestal is looking forward to getting out of that hospital bed. “I think she just wants to get back out. She’s a runner. She loves to run.”
Kestal even got a special visit from the people who her mom says saved her life that morning. Battalion Commander Steven Lopez says they brought Kestal toys and t-shirts. He wants to remind visitors to be careful when visiting the Sandia Mountains.
“It is kind of dangerous. It’s a beautiful place but at the same time it can be very treacherous,” he says.
Kestal is expected to make a full recovery. Polivka says she could be released as early as Monday.
BCFD says these mountain rescues are pretty common. They say crews respond to lost hikers or injured people at least a dozen times a year.