Teens rescue man from fall on El Cerro de Los Lunas
Two young men hiking on El Cerro de Los Lunas Easter Sunday became heroes when they rescued an injured hiker, Matthew Porter.
Porter, 21, has been living with his sister, Beth Robbins, in Huning Ranch, and they often take the dogs hiking in the hills.
"Since he's been living with us, he likes to go up there and hike to get out of the house," Robbins said.
Around 3 p.m., Porter was at the house on his computer posting on Facebook, but some time afterward went for a hike by himself. Robbins was in El Paso with her fiancé, Jesse Magallanez, visiting family.
Meanwhile, Jimmy Alldredge, a Los Lunas High School junior, and his friend, Robert Wall, of Meadow Lake, were looking for something to do after the holiday meal.
Wall had ridden his bike down from Meadow Lake early that morning to fix Alldredge's bicycle.
"The deal between us was that if I fixed his bike, we were going to go," Wall said.
But it was touch and go because they needed a ride, and Alldredge's mother, Shannon Hughes, was tired and his grandmother, Patricia Alldredge, didn't want them to go. It was already late in the afternoon.
They persuaded Alldredge's grandmother to give them a lift and climbed to the top for the very first time. It was an "epic" climb, Wall said.
Matthew Porter's backpack and cell phone were left unattended on the peak of the north facing cliffs.
"If I hadn't been climbing right on the edge of the cliff, we would have never found his stuff," Wall said.
"He had about a 200 foot fall and landed on some rocks," Alldredge said. "It may not look like cliffs, but when you get up there, it's a straight drop."
The young men called out, but received no response at first. Then Wall thought he heard something.
"You could just hear the pain in his voice," Alldredge said. "He was in trouble."
Wall went into high gear, thinking only to get down to the injured hiker. Alldredge found a safe route around that gradually took them down to Porter.
"He couldn't even remember his name," Wall said.
On the victim's cell phone, Wall found Porter's mother's phone number and called her while Alldredge called 911.
Porter kept losing consciousness, and then Wall noticed he wasn't breathing and started to administer CPR.
"I thought that guy was going to die right there in my arms," Wall said. "I didn't want him to die. I didn't care what the personal price was. That's all that mattered to me."
Alldredge used his cell phone to flash SOS, so the police could find them.
The Los Lunas Tactical Rescue Team, a group of volunteer firefighters and village Open Space Rangers trained in rescue emergency service climbed the hill on foot and some road ATVs to reach the scene.
Lt. Tommy Madrid and firefighter Renaldo Carrillo were the EMTs who stabilized the patient.
Pat Jaramillo, with the Open Space Rangers and the Los Lunas Police Department, set up a base of operations at the Jubilee Community Center, and they guided the PHI helicopter to a place to land, Jaramillo said.
Porter's sister and her fiancé were heading back home when they got the call.
"It was scarey. I was still about 150 miles from Los Lunas, so it was like the longest drive ever," she said.
During the rescue, Robbins talked on the phone to Wall and Alldredge.
"I told them 'Thank you, thank you for being there,'" she said through tears. "I don't think there are words to express my gratitude … Just knowing they had the common sense to look for him, and that they stayed with him, and did their best to keep him warm, keep him awake. They definitely saved his life, that's for sure."
In fact, Porter had a punctured lung that was taking in fluid.
"If he would have laid there too long, he would have eventually stopped breathing," she said.
There is a 13 year age difference between Robbins and her brother. She often took care of her little brother when they were growing up, because their mother was a single parent.
Porter suffered a minor skull fracture requiring 50 staples to his head, a minor spinal fracture, a broken nose and a broken wrist that will need surgery. Luckily, his brain was not injured, Robbins said.
Alldredge sent a message to Porter on Facebook:
"Hey man, I know you don't know me, but me and my buddy Robert Wall found you yesterday. I seriously hope you get better bro.
"If you ever get to read this message, then hit me up and we will pay you a visit. I'm not the religious type, but I am praying for you bro. We're rooting for you."
Porter was moved from the ICU at the University of New Mexico Hospital on Tuesday to the sub-acute ward for physical therapy, said Robbins.
"God was with him every step of the way," she said. "Those boys said they almost didn't go hiking up there, so it's like everything lined up the way it needed to be."
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