A man and his girlfriend were enjoying a relaxing hang in their hammock Wednesday afternoon when the tree they were dangling from snapped.
Hanging above a rock field at Surprise Lake, when the tree broke they fell onto the rocks. The tree knocked Preston Reidy, 24, of Florida, unconscious.
There’s no cellphone signal in that area of Grand Teton National Park, but a separate party came upon the accident and ran about 100 yards to where they were able to call for help.
As Reidy regained consciousness, he began having seizures, witnesses said. He has no history of seizures, first responders said, so they think it was related to the head injury.
Search and Rescue personnel and Grand Teton National Park rangers responded at 3:45 p.m.
This is normally a gap month for search and rescue’s contract helicopter, but because of a successful fundraising season the nonprofit was able to get the helicopter in service a month early.
“We were happy to be able to respond by helicopter,” Teton County Search and Rescue chief advisor Cody Lockhart said. “Otherwise the mission would have taken much longer.”
Reidy was short-hauled to the Jenny Lake Ranger cache, then taken by park ambulance to St. John’s Medical Center. He was disoriented, Lockhart said, and didn’t know where he was or what had happened. He also lost hearing in one ear but eventually regained it.
Reidy’s hiking partner walked out with a search and rescue member.
The mission concluded around 8 p.m.
Reidy was treated at St. John’s emergency room and released Wednesday night, the hospital’s chief communications officer, Karen Connelly, said.