An Anaheim, Calif., man, who was pinned by a boulder, amazed rescuers by escaping without serious injury.
Wes Youell, 39, was climbing alone about 2:45 p.m. Monday near Delicate Arch trailhead in Arches National Park when a rock, measuring about 3 feet by 4 feet, came loose and tumbled approximately 10 pinning his left leg.Youell yelled for help, and a park visitor notified park rangers. Youell was hyperventilating when three rangers arrived about 3:10 p.m. The rangers, who were later joined by two other rangers and other rescuers, built a shelter of jackets and blankets and gave Youell water and an orange, said Noel Poe, Arches superintendent.
Using a special hydraulic tool called "Jaws of Life," the rangers and Grand County Search and Rescue crews were able to lift the rock off the victim about 4:10 p.m. Poe said the rock was resting on the man's upper thigh and another rock and was not touching the ground.
Youell was taken to Allen Memorial Hospital in Moab where he was treated for leg puncture wounds and was released about 7:45 p.m.
Poe said a Grand Junction, Colo., air rescue service was contacted because of fear that Youell's upper thigh bone might have been crushed or broken. That could have been life threatening. Also, rescue workers were unable to get a pulse reading on Youell's ankle, which suggested the man's circulation might have been cut off for up to an hour and 25 minutes.
Youell was lucky to have escaped serious injury, but apparently his bad luck hadn't run out, Poe said.
"Interestingly enough, he'd locked his keys in his car at one of the overlooks Monday morning. And one ranger, Jim Webster, who helped him get the keys out also helped him get out from under the rock," Poe said. "So he was having a string of bad luck at the park."