El Paso firefighter injured during mountain rescue operation

Two teens spend nearly 15 hours in wilderness

Matthew Smith, Good Morning El Paso Weekend Anchor / Reporter
POSTED: 05:12 PM MDT Jul 28, 2013    UPDATED: 09:40 PM MST Jan 15, 2014 
EL PASO, Texas -

One mountain rescue spurred a second in El Paso early Sunday morning.

A family went hiking in the Franklin Mountains on Saturday afternoon. The family began hiking around 5:30 p.m. At some point two young boys, ages 16 and 19, left the group and got lost. The family called 9-1-1 and reported them missing when they hadn’t heard from them by 2 a.m.

According to members of the El Paso Fire Department, the teens were ill-equipped to be in the mountains.

“These poor individuals were up there,” said George Medina, a fire battalion. “They had no batteries in their cells. They didn’t have any water, they were wearing just shorts and shirts.”

According to Medina, it had already begun raining by the time they reached the boys. By the time they got down from the mountain they had been in the wilderness for nearly 15 hours.

Further complicating the issue, the teens couldn’t be taken down the mountain the same way rescuers reached them. Fire officials tell ABC-7 that they approached the mountain from Northeast El Paso, when they got to the boys they determined it was better to exit the mountain into west El Paso.

Several other issues popped up during the rescue, the most severe was an injury suffered to a firefighter who was part of the search team. A fellow member of that team told ABC-7 that the man “heard a pop,” in his leg. When he was brought down the mountain Sunday afternoon he had a cast wrapped around his ankle.

After days of raining, the trails in the Franklins are harder to travel according to those who took part in the rescue. In the past 48 hours mountain rescue workers have been called to three separate incidents.

The El Paso Fire Department is warning that you should keep several things in mind if you hike:

• Always plan out your hike prior to starting your day.
• Be extra cautious of your footing when encountering loose rocks.
• Always dress for comfort and be prepared for the unexpected.
• Remember to carry enough water (one gallon per person per day is recommended)
• Never leave for a hike without informing a responsible person.
• Always carry your cellphone and call 9-1-1 in case of any emergency.