CPR couldn’t save man near summit of Quandary
July 18, 2011
BRECKENRIDGE, Colo. – A Boulder man visiting Summit County for the day went into cardiac arrest and died near the Quandary Peak summit near Breckenridge Sunday afternoon.
According to the Summit County coroner, the 48-year-old man was originally from the Middle East and had been living in Boulder for the past decade. The coroner said the man had “significant medical history” and that the cause of death was likely a heart attack. The man’s name has not been released.
An emergency call was placed at 1 p.m. from a cellphone on Quandary Peak reporting cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) in progress. Joe Ben Slivka, the Summit County Rescue Group incident commander, said the man’s friend began CPR to support circulation and three Air Force cadets assisted when they came upon the scene.
“They did a phenomenal job. They gave the guy the best opportunity to survive,” Slivka said.
The man had collapsed on the trail on the ascent, about 100 yards from the summit at about 13,800 feet, according to a GPS reading.
A Flight for Life nurse was on scene within 37 minutes, Summit County Rescue Group spokesman Jim Koegel said. Thirty-six rescue group volunteers arrived to assist. The rescue group had aid from the Red, White and Blue Fire District, Summit County Ambulance, Vail Mountain Rescue and Park County Search and Rescue.
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The rescue group performed CPR, as well. He was pronounced dead at 3:42 p.m. and Summit County Rescue Group volunteers brought him down the mountain on a hand cart.
“Unfortunately, it was the top of Quandary at (about) 14,000 feet,” Slivka said, explaining that chances of successful CPR at that elevation are slim, and the area is tough to access. Ideally, a defibrillation shock should be administered within 10 minutes or less of beginning CPR for a victim in cardiac arrest, he said.