The cost of getting lost in the Franklin Mountains

Three mountain rescues in the last four weeks.

Mountain rescue costs

EL PASO, Texas - Three mountain rescues in the last four weeks. ABC-7 has covered how these folks have gotten lost, but many may fail to realize, getting turned around in the Franklin Mountains is expensive.

We hear it all the time: hike in numbers, with more than one person. Don't ever hike by yourself. If you're going to be mountain climbing you got the right equipment, you got water, you're dressed appropriately.

Yet it still happens.

Hikers exploring Tom Mays Park or isolated trails in the Franklin Mountains get lost.

"It's very expensive," said Rodriguez.

Over the last four weeks three mountain rescues left bewildered hikers dehydrated, tired and broke.

"They're going to get charged as well," Rodriguez said.

Lets break down the numbers. As soon as 911 is dialed, three crews automatically show up. Each crew costs $165. The fire department charges per crew, per hour. So before you're even found, you will owe $660.

But that's not all.

If you're deep into the mountains, and they have to find you, El Paso's Combined Search and Rescue teams will have to come out. The minimum is about 10 search and rescue experts from the El Paso Fire Dept., El Paso Police Dept., Department and Texas Park Rangers. That breaks down into about 3 crews, which means you're paying $1320 per hour.

"It takes a long time," Rodriguez said. "They don't rush anything. They're real meticulous. Sometimes it can take up to 10 hours to complete."

But wait -- what if you're injured?

"Then it's going to take many, many hours to carry them down the mountain," Rodriguez said.

Then about $800- $1200 for the ambulance ride. And if they need to be airlifted, they're looking at $12,000-$25,000 all in a day's hike.

But Rodriguez said don't hesitate to call because you're scared of the bills! Just don't get lost. Remember, don't bite off more than you can chew, because if it takes a long time to get up the mountain, it takes just as long to get down.

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