Big Bend rangers responded to a variety of calls during the week beginning Monday, February 22nd, including several injury accidents and the medical evacuation of an ailing teenage hiker:
February 22 - Dispatch received a request for help regarding a motorcycle accident on Old Ore Road. Rangers Phil Basak and Rob Dean responded and transported a 63-year-old man with a broken clavicle to the regional hospital, a round trip of over 200 miles.
February 24 – Rangers Mark Franklin, Rick Roberts, Phil Basak, Sean Marick, David Yim and John Craig responded to a vehicle rollover on Route 14. The driver of the vehicle was subsequently cited for failure to maintain control and possession of a controlled substance. Route 14 was temporarily closed as the road crew performed clean up and the vehicle was towed from the scene.
February 25 – Park dispatch received a satellite phone call from a school group hiking on the Marufo Vega trail, located in a very remote section of the park. A 14-year-old girl was reported to be suffering from dehydration. As the party was unsure of the group’s location, park pilot Curtis Cebulski took to the air to find them. He was successful in locating them and directed horse patrol rangers Joe Roberts, Sean Marick and David Yim to her location. She was treated and transported back to the trailhead on horseback.
February 26 – Rangers Keith Gray, Rick Roberts, Jost Zwiebel, Manuel Uribe, John Craig and Phil Basak responded to a motorcycle accident near the midpoint of the remote River Road, a dirt road near the Mexican border that traverses the length of the park. A 73-year-old man had sustained multiple serious injuries in the accident. He was airlifted by Carestar helicopter to Fort Stockton, Texas.
February 27 – Dispatch was notified of a motorcycle accident at Castolon and a separate single vehicle rollover at the remote Black Dike backcountry campsite. Rangers Keith Gray, Phil Basak and Jost Zwiebel responded to the calls. The driver of the motorcycle was treated and released. The driver of the vehicle was not injured but the vehicle had to be trailered from the scene.
This week marked the opening of the traditional busy spring season in Big Bend. In addition to a dramatic increase in visitation that week, the park also experienced both warm sunny days and an accumulating snowfall at midweek.