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A 65-year-old man was airlifted to Summit Medical Center early Tuesday morning in a rescue from a steep snowfield below the summit of La Plata Peak, Chaffee County Sheriff John Spezze said.

Jeffrey Ashby was transported to Summit Medical Center for treatment of possible fractures by Flight for Life at approximately 7:30 a.m. Tuesday following an all-night mission by Chaffee County Search and Rescue North and South.

Chaffee County Communications Center was contacted by hikers on La Plata Monday saying that they had heard a person yelling for help. SAR crews responded to the area where the screams were last heard and began searching until about nightfall, when they noticed a light flashing below the summit, Spezze said in a news release.

“Searchers responded closer, however they were unable to get into a better position due to the extreme steep and technical terrain,” he said.

Flight for Life was called in and spotted a person on a very steep snowfield.

“Rescuers were not able to reach the person from their position so a Reach helicopter was contacted and they flew a paramedic/search and rescue member into a better location,” he said.

The SAR member was able to reach Ashby at around 3 a.m. Tuesday, Spezze said. Ashby was transported to a Flight for Life helicopter waiting at Twin Lakes.

The Air National Guard High Altitude Training Center in Gypsum was also contacted in efforts to get Ashby off the mountain as soon as possible, Spezze said.

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