On Wednesday April 12, 2017, I was rafting with a group of five on the San Juan river in southern Utah. We were camped just below Ross Rapid, at river mile 52.7. It was our fifth day on the river.
One member of our party was down by the river around dinner time. The rest of us were busy preparing dinner or attending to camp chores. Suddenly we heard a cry of, "Help!" We rushed to the sound of the cry, and found that Van had slipped on wet rocks and broken his knee. After assessing the situation, and the condition of the victim, we splinted the knee using a SAM splint, placed him on a table and transported him to level ground.
We were still two days from the take out, with the only significant rapid still downstream. Given the remote location, the dangers involved in transporting an incapacitated person through a rapid, and the amount of pain he was in, I activated my Aqualink PLB-350C. As it was getting dark, and we were at the bottom of a fairly narrow canyon, I thought it would be morning before help arrived. We did our best to keep our victim calm and comfortable, as we settled down to wait. A couple hours later, in fading light, we heard the whoop-whoop-whoop of a helicopter coming up the canyon. One of our party had previously scouted out a landing location, and guided the copter in using a lantern.
After landing, the crew reassessed the victim, and we helped carry him to the helicopter. A while later, Van was on his way to medical care in Cortez. We were all very grateful that even miles from anywhere, my PLB was able to summon help when needed. THANKS!