Posted: Jun 28, 2013 7:25 PM by Simone DeAlba - MTN News
Updated: Jun 28, 2013 7:25 PM
GREAT FALLS - One man was airlifted by Mercy Flight to Benefis hospital after accidentally being struck in the head by a paddle on Friday.
The incident happened on the Smith River about 15 miles south of Ulm by the Eden Bridge, where a group of six people was rafting.
A witness tells us that the man was knocked unconscious for about a minute.
The man was stabilized on a sandbar until responders could reach him.
The Department of Homeland Security was notified and dispatched a helicopter, but was unable to load the victim into the helicopter.
A Mercy Flight helicopter was then requested and took the man to Benefis hospital where he is being treated for his injury, which is not believed to be life-threatening.
State Game Warden Brett Logan says if you are participating in water recreation it's important to know what to do in an emergency.
Logan said, "Life Jackets are key, it's the seatbelt of the boat, it's going to keep you safe...even if you're unconscious it will keep you afloat and people can get to you quicker. If you're not wearing a life jacket chances are you will go under immediately and we won't be able to find you."
Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks was initially notified of the incident by a "spot alert" from a GPS signal transmitted from the raft.
The alert notifies officials that an emergency has taken place and assistance is needed.