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ATV driver successfully rescued after plunging over snowy Colo. cliff

The driver’s helmet likely saved their life in the fall, La Plata County Search and Rescue said


La Plata County Search and Rescue

By Brooke Baitinger
The Charlotte Observer

LA PLATA COUNTY, Colo. — An ATV driver plunged “into the abyss” after going over a dark, cold and snowy cliff, Colorado rescuers said.

The driver’s helmet likely saved their life in the fall, La Plata County Search and Rescue said in a Nov. 19 Facebook post.

Dramatic photos show the “near white out conditions” on the dark cliffside Saturday, Nov. 18 , as La Plata County Search and Rescue team members navigated over the cliff to help the driver, who was trapped on a ledge in La Plata Canyon , rescuers said.

The canyon is near Durango in southwestern Colorado , about 200 miles southwest of Colorado Springs .

A team trained in technical rope rescue used a two-rope system to lower team members and supplies to secure the driver to a stretcher and haul them 200 feet back up the cliff, rescuers said.

“The weather was not of much help as it was dark, cold and snow was blowing so badly, it was near white out conditions,” rescuers said.

Once the team got the ATV driver back up from the ledge, they were taken to a hospital in an ambulance, rescuers said.

The call came in about 4:30 p.m. , and the rescue mission was over at midnight, rescuers said.

“It was nothing short of amazing,” Mission Commander Ron Corkish told CBS News Colorado. “We had the right people and the right equipment. Conditions could’ve been better but they certainly could’ve been worse.”

Between six to nine inches of snow fell on the mountainside that night, the station reported.

“If that fella was up there today, it’d be a whole different story,” Corkish told the station.

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