Search and rescue crews save woman lost in East Mountains

[anvplayer video=”5192712″ station=”998122″]

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Search and rescue crews had a hectic weekend with three incidents. One of them involved a woman being stranded in the East Mountains for almost two nights. 

Officials say the woman left her home Thursday afternoon, but they didn’t find her until overnight Saturday. 

“It was a big surprise this elderly lady had spent at least one night in the field, and it was already getting cold, and we were expecting the worst,” said Bob Rodgers, a NMSP Search and Rescue officer. 

Rodgers coordinated a massive effort to find her. The search started Thursday with Sandoval County Fire. By Friday morning, they called in backup.

“We started doing our thing, we put in a bunch of canines and ground pounders just trying to find this female,” said Rodgers.

Dozens of people from several agencies were there to help – many of them search and rescue volunteers. 

“Finding a subject alive is what we really aim to do for sure. We really want that to be done that’s why we throw as many resources as we can as quick as possible to get the situation resolved as fast as possible,” Rodgers said. 

After 15 hours, crews spotted the woman on top of Sandia Man Cave early Saturday morning. She was dehydrated, hypothermic, and had low blood sugar. 

With steep cliffs and a spiral staircase, it was a touchy rescue that fortunately ended with success. 

Rodgers says crews were overwhelmed, and they had two other rescue situations Friday in the Sandias. 

“I pretty much used up a whole lot of resources so in the process of trying to call more resources we were running into dead zones. We were actually getting ready to call the rest of the state to see who we could get in,” said Rodgers.  

Rodgers says they were ultimately able to handle all three rescues. But he also hopes people help ease the stress on those crews before they go out. 

“Take plenty of water, take plenty of food. Let someone know where you’re going and what time you’re supposed to be due back,” Rodgers said. 

Rodgers says they’ve responded to 23 calls for people needing help in the Sandias so far this year. In 2022, they handled 17 calls.

He’s also looking for search and rescue volunteers. Reach out to Rodgers at if you want to volunteer with search and rescue.