Research assistant injured during rescue duty

By Cara Miller

Arizona Daily Wildcat

Sprained ankles, broken knees and scraped elbows are a typical mark of a Southern Arizona Rescue Association member.

But Monte Richardson, a University of Arizona Cancer Center research assistant, suffered more severe injuries this weekend when a 1,300-pound horse rolled over him during a rescue attempt.

At 7:15 p.m. Saturday, 29 rescue members headed out to Madera Canyon to rescue a woman who had injured her back while hiking.

Ten rescuers had reached the woman when someone announced over the radio that one of their own team had been injured.

“We were shocked,” team member Bill Kelleman said. “We try not to say their names over the radio, so we weren’t sure who was injured. There was a lot of apprehension.”

The incident occurred when Richardson tried to reach another rescuer who was tangled in his saddle. The other man managed to free himself, but the horse lost its footing and fell on Richardson.

Kelleman said Richardson’s injury was the only trauma and needed to be air-evacuated out of the area. The injured woman was carried out and needed only primary medical treatment.

According to Richardson’s wife, Linda Richardson, a UA Cancer Center accountant, he suffered a broken knee and a broken hip joint. Surgeons removed bone fragments and reconstructed his hip.

“He’s doing well — he’s just trying to adjust emotionally,” Linda Richardson said.

Although Richardson will not be able to sit in a 90-degree angle for about two months, he is expected to walk without aides within three months.

“The hardest part for Monte is that we are doing (things) for him,” Linda Richardson said. “He’s always doing things for everyone else. It’s hard for him to accept having to be taken care of.”

Richard Collins, a team member and televison production manager for Biomedical Communications, said this was the first major team injury since the inception of the Southern Arizona Rescue Association team in 1958.

“Nobody did anything wrong,” Collins said. “It’s just one of those freak things.”

Richardson is expected to be released within the next four or five days.

“We’re both just thrilled that he’s alive,” Linda Richardson said.

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