Cody - A dramatic mountain rescue started with a five-mile trek into the wilderness Saturday night, and ended with a black hawk helicopter landing in the Center of the West museums parking lot in Cody Sunday morning.
The Park County Search and Rescue managers asked Wyoming’s Army National Guard to help them with the rescue of a man who was thrown from his horse in the mountains West of Cody.
Sheriff’s Office spokesman Lance Mathess said 46-year old Scott Alan Vaughn of Cody was complaining of back pain, shortness of breath and nausea when the call came in 6 p.m. Saturday.
Search and Rescue volunteers and the Wilderness Medical Team from Cody Regional Health hiked and rode horses five miles up the Horse Creek drainage from the Yellowstone Highway, and tried to haul Vaughn down the mountain around midnight.
Matthess explained, “There really wasn’t any way they were going to walk the gentleman out at night. so then, we made the decision to contact the Wyoming Army National Guard, requested a black hawk helicopter which they did send up. It arrived around eight in the morning. Our team members stayed with the victim all night. They had an emergency room doctor with him.”
Matthess said Vaughn was taken to the hospital. Members of the Big Horn County Search and Rescue assisted in the rescue as well.
On Saturday, October 27, 2018, at 6:00 p.m., the Park County Sheriff’s 911 Dispatch Center received a report of a 46-year-old Cody man that had been thrown from his horse in the Horse Creek draining approximately five miles north of the trailhead. The Horse Creek trailhead/picnic area is off the North Fork Highway, approximately four miles west of the Shoshone Forest boundary.
Scott Alan Vaughn who was riding with a companion when the accident occurred, was complaining of back pain, shortness of breath and nausea. Search and Rescue (PCSAR) was immediately mobilized and deployed two ground teams to the trailhead. They were accompanied by a wilderness medical team from Cody Regional Hospital. Due to the terrain and inclement weather at the time, a medical helicopter was not an option for Vaughn’s evacuation.
The ground teams, therefore, hiked in and were able to reach Vaughn at approximately 11:30 p.m. Members of the Wilderness Medical Team with the assistance of an emergency room doctor who was also on the scene (PCSAR member), stabilized Vaughn and began an attempt to evacuate him.
However, due to night conditions, the inclement weather and the extreme ruggedness of the terrain, it was determined that a safe evacuation was impossible at that time. The decision was made to spend the night with Vaughn and make him comfortable until morning. Processes were then implemented to summon a Blackhawk helicopter from the Wyoming Army National Guard out of Cheyenne to “short haul” Vaughn out at first light.
At 8:00 a.m. on Sunday morning, the Blackhawk arrived on scene and lowered an army medic down to Vaughn. He was then packaged in a transport litter and raised up to the helicopter along with the medic. Vaughn was then transported to Cody Regional Hospital where his condition is unknown at this time.
Once again, Sheriff Scott Steward praised the interagency cooperation of the first responders which lead to another successful rescue. “The selflessness of these folks makes me very proud,” commented Steward. “They not only hiked in 5 miles in the middle of the night but then bedded down with the victim to make him comfortable until help could arrive in the morning. They are true heroes.”