Help!

Help!

By now, you’ve probably heard of the Texas couple hiking with their infant daughter on the Purgatory Flats trail, north of Durango, who called for a search and rescue helicopter after spotting a mountain lion.

What hasn’t been addressed, however, is who ultimately paid for the flight out.

Ron Corkish, president of La Plata County Search and Rescue, said no – you can’t just call for a helicopter ride if you see a mountain lion. But in this instance, the mom, with her baby, was, shall we say, seriously freaking out and refused offers to hike out with rescue crews. So, Corkish said the quickest way to remedy the situation was to call a Flight for Life. “There’s just no consoling an unhappy mom,” he said.

Flight for Life, for its part, said it could help. So in just an hour’s time, the Texas family was extricated. It should be noted, however, the mountain lion showed zero signs of aggression.

Lindsay Radford, spokeswoman for Centura Health (which runs FFL), said the family was not billed for the flight, but she was unable to provide a total cost of the operation. Pilots are contracted and on-call, so their time is already being paid for. The only real expense was the fuel, but Radford was unable to provide those numbers. Also, FFL did not administer medical care, so it could not charge the family on that front. All in all, the flight was absorbed by the company’s operating expenses. And if there was a true life-threatening emergency elsewhere, Radford said pilots would have diverted to that mission.

Anyway, the take-away message here, if there is one, is: when you go into the backcountry, there’s a chance you’re going to see wildlife.  And perhaps (we’re treading lightly here) it’s not the best idea to take away emergency resources for a nonemergency situation.

Top Stories

Holy housing
05/19/2022
Holy housing
By Jonathan Thompson

Throwing more fuel on the housing fire won’t solve the problem

Read More
The fight for a starry night
05/19/2022
The fight for a starry night
By Elizabeth Barrett

Combating light pollution in Durango, Silverton and beyond

Read More
Unlocking the mystery
05/19/2022
Unlocking the mystery
By Jonathan Romeo

Southwest Colorado could play key role in discovering dark matter

Read More
Toolin' around
05/12/2022
Toolin' around
By Jennaye Derge

From drills to drain snakes, Durango Tool Library’s got your next DIY covered

Read More
Read All in Top Stories

The Pole

Last One in
05/19/2022

Haviland Lake, which was drained in 2019 for repairs on the dam and outlet structure, is now open and back to normal.

Ready to roll
05/19/2022

E-bikes are now permanently allowed on the Twin Buttes trail system, but a final decision on whether riders can go out on other city-wide trails has yet to be determined.

Be my neighbor
05/12/2022

To say America is divided at the current moment is, well, an understatement

Petition passes
05/12/2022

The petition for more public process in fire and police stations needed 768 signatures, and all tallied up, received 771 valid signatures.

Read All Stories in the Pole