AZTEC, N.M. (KRQE) – An injured hiker missing in the cold mountains for more than a day was rescued in an unusual way. She was spotted by a passenger on a very popular tourist train. The New Mexico woman was found near the tracks of the Durango-Silverton Narrow Guage Railway.
“She (passenger) reported to him (conductor) that she saw a woman across the river that was frantically waving. Obviously trying to obtain help,” said Darren Whitten with Durango-Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad.
On Monday, a passenger on the Durango-Silverton Narrow Gauge Train noticed an injured woman near the Animas when she looked out her window. The hiker was a 20-year-old woman from Aztec, New Mexico, that had been missing since Sunday.
She had gone hiking along the Colorado Trail when she fell off a cliff and ended up unconscious. When rescuers found her, she had a broken leg and a concussion.
“She was obviously, you know, in considerable distress, you know, I guess probably approaching somewhat of a panic mode. She was very adamant that she did not want to be left alone again,” said Darren Whitten with Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad.
The Office of Emergency Management for San Juan County, Colorado, said the hiker is lucky to be alive. They say temperatures at night can fall to twenty degrees. The woman was in a tank top.
Rescuers also pointed out there are wolves and mountain lions in the area. Staff from the train gave the hiker immediate medical attention until a helicopter arrived and airlifted her to a hospital.
“The immediate decisions that their train staff made in this particular situation really made the difference between life and death,” says DeAnne Gallegos from the San Juan County, Colorado’s Office of Emergency Management.
The Durango-Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad comped the passenger and her husband as a thank you.