Peoa man saves injured rancher in Uintas
July 5, 2006
Without aid from three Summit County residents, a 68-year-old man would have likely died after falling off his horse in the Uinta Mountains June 30, authorities say.
Uintah Basin resident Lynn Hackford was roughly two miles from the Slate Creek trailhead when he fell at around 1 p.m., reportedly fracturing his leg, pelvis and injuring his lung, searchers said.
"It turned out better than it could have," said Peoa resident Rowdy Fitzgerald, who located Hackford in the woods around 2 a.m. the next morning. "When I got to him, I said, ‘man, am I glad to see you.’"
A group of campers contacted the Summit County Sheriff’s Office after finding Hackford’s horse near the Mirror Lake Highway without a rider.
"It was pretty obvious that there was somebody who was missing typically we get called by family or a good friend," said Summit County Sheriff Dave Edmunds, who sent the office’s search-and-rescue team to the scene. "He was probably out there 10 or 12 hours."
Hackford is a rancher in the Uintas who fell while tending cattle.
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"He’s a tough old cowboy," said David Hackford, Lynn’s relative, who lives in Roosevelt. "He’s been a cowboy and herded sheep and has been in the mountains on horseback his whole life."
Hackford’s pelvis is broken in several places, he said.
"He’ll probably live, but he may never walk again," David Hackford said. "It’s a bad deal."
Fitzgerald found Hackford on a steep slope in a rugged area east of Kamas.
"He knew [Hackford] and when he found out that’s who it was, he was really anxious to find him," said Kamas resident Jackie Blazzard, Fitzgerald’s mother-in-law.
The Sheriff’s Office contacted Blazzard and her husband, John, who know many of the ranchers in the Uintas for help identifying the rider-less horse.
"Dispatch called us about midnight," she said.
After locating the man, Fitzgerald said he waited with searchers and paramedics for the sun to rise.
"He was in a rough area and they couldn’t bring him out on the board," Blazzard said.
Hackford was rescued by a helicopter and flown for treatment to LDS Hospital in Salt Lake City. According to a hospital spokeswoman on Tuesday, he requested no information be released about his condition.
"He was down at the bottom of a canyon," Fitzgerald said. "I was pretty darned glad to have found him. He was busted up pretty bad."
Fitzgerald praised searchers and paramedics in South Summit.
"It was a very well run operation," Fitzgerald said.
Meanwhile, a man was located as the Sheriff’s Office prepared Sunday to deploy on a separate mission near The Canyons resort.
"They weren’t even lost," Summit County sheriff’s Chief Deputy Dave Booth said, adding that the report was a result of "miscommunication" between roommates. "When they called me Sunday and said we had a lost hiker up above The Canyons, who had been missing for 24 hours, I thought we’d be spending our Fourth of July holiday at base command."
But the Sheriff’s Office so far this summer has experienced no long-term deployments, he said.
"We’ve been steady," Booth said. "But we don’t take anything for granted."