Surprise Lake rescue

First responders tend to Preston Reidy, 24, after he was short hauled from Surprise Lake following a hammock accident.

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.

Contact Emily Mieure at 732-7066 or

(4) comments

Ken Chison

Hammocks sound dangerous. Wonder who is to blame for this mishap? Hopefully the forest service labeled every tree in the forest with a sticker warning of this. I believe trees injure and kill way more people every year than guns. And they don't discriminate. Kennedy's, Sonny Bono. They just don't care.

Wyoming Winds

ummm....first thing: this was in Grand Teton National Park. Not the Forest Service. You (I'm guessing from other posts of yours over the years) tRump supporters have all learned very well to hate all government agencies and the people who work for them and often even the critters that live in them, so it seems. Even though, by definition, it's your land. And mine and 330 million other Americans too. Even ones with hammocks are allowed. And if you are trying to equate this incident with gun control, something that the majority of Republicans are deathly afraid of more than they are concerned about the 31,557 people in the US that lose their lives to gun violence and the other 85,000 that are injured, you have lost us all! That number is a helluva lot worse than a dizzying but not fatal hammock injury at 9000 feet up. BTW these numbers come from todays real time updated non partisan Gun Violence Archive. This number does not including the mass shootings this year, which have totalled another 340, with 25 mass murders. )... Boy Ken, I gotta say, you've really lost us on this one. WHAT WAS or IS YOUR POINT? Who are you trying to tell your story to?

Ken Chison

Ok. Omit forest, add park. Now, let's talk about your skewed numbers. That number represents all gun incidences. Cops shooting bad guys. People shooting bad people in self defense. Home invasions where bad people are shot, and so many more. Yet 40,000 or more are killed in car accidents with about 13 a day being teens texting and driving. And don't forget, mass shooting is defined as 4 or more fatalities in one incident. Just another weekend in Chicago. Which, by the way, has some of the most strict gun laws in the country. Don't forget that more people were killed by hammers and blunt trauma than assault weapons either. This is too easy.

Terry Milan

I think Michael Kennedy was the only Kennedy to be taken out by a tree. The best I can recollect, the score is, two shot, two shot down by enemy fire in WW I I, one couldn't land the plane ( no enemy fire), one recently took herself out, several banged up in car wrecks (their passengers fared worse) and then others just went out due to natural causes like age.

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