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A local paraglider made a forced landing in Death Canyon Wednesday afternoon, July 10, triggering a search and rescue operation in Grand Teton National Park. Teton Interagency Dispatch Center received a call for help at 4 p.m. for Rebecca Bredehoft, age 29, of Jackson, Wyoming, after she took a hard landing about 4.5 miles up canyon from the Death Canyon trailhead. Bredefhoft sustained serious injuries during that landing.
Bredehoft, an expert paraglider, and a companion launched from Teton Village intending to glide north over the Teton Range before returning to land at Teton Village. While she was over Death Canyon, Bredehoft lost her thermal lift causing a forced descent to the canyon floor. Hikers, who witnessed her descent, assisted Bredehoft in moving her paraglider and other gear down the canyon trail where she subsequently met park rangers responding to the scene.
Grand Teton National Park rangers and a Teton Interagency contract helicopter flew to a landing zone about a half mile above Bredehoft's location in Death Canyon. Once rangers arrived on scene they provided emergency medical care and prepared Bredehoft for a short-haul evacuation from the canyon to the valley floor. With a ranger attending, Bredehoft was short-hauled in a litter to a landing zone at the historic White Grass Ranch where she was met by a park ambulance and transported to St. John's Medical Center in Jackson.
Short-haul is a rescue technique where an individual is suspended below the helicopter on a 100 to 200 foot rope. This method allows a rescuer more direct access to an injured party, and it is often used in the Teton Range where conditions make it difficult to land a helicopter in the steep and rocky terrain. Patients are typically flown out via short-haul with a ranger attending to them below the helicopter, as was the case for this rescue.
Rangers remind park users that taking off or landing by a paraglider, hang glider, hot air balloon or other airborne means is not permitted in Grand Teton National Park. People who chose to engage in these activities are reminded that the responsibility lies with each individual to ensure that they can make an appropriate landing outside the park boundary.
Editor's Note: Rangers are currently responding to a 39 year-old male who sustained injuries last night near the Lower Saddle of the Grand Teton. With the assistance of a Teton Interagency contract helicopter, park rangers plan to fly the injured climber from the Lower Saddle to the valley floor. No additional information is available at this time.
Last updated: February 24, 2015