AFA Cadets Rescue Injured Woman on Pikes Peak

By: Rick Montanez Email
By: Rick Montanez Email

A Colorado Springs woman was rescued Saturday, a few miles from the Pikes Peak summit. Marian Steele was rescued by two Air Force Cadets who were hiking up Barr Trail.

The two men carried Steele two miles up to the peak so she could get help.
The cadets say when they saw Steele on the trail floor, in pain, they didn't give it a second thought before they scooped her up and carried her to the top of Pikes Peak.

Steele said after she got injured, she at first thought, "we could try crawling up the hill, but that wasn't going to work."

First Class Cadets Steve Shaffer and Steven Phnewell said when they saw Steele on the ground they knew they had to act. "We took their packs, and switched off carrying her up the mountain, all the way up," Shaffer said.

"They carried me on their shoulders, like Heman," Steele said.

It was a tough climb, even for the cadets. "It definitely took a toll on your body," Shaffer said.

El Paso County Search and Rescue said it's important to be well prepared for a strenuous hike. "Have plenty of water, food and rain gear," advised SAR information officer Steve Sperry.

Shaffer said he would help anyone who needs it. "We would hope that people would do the same for us," he said.

"There's nothing I could do to make that up,” Steele said. “It was phenomenal."

Search and Rescue crews said people should not attempt a rescue like this one. They told 11 News people should leave it up to the trained professionals.

*Editor's Note: Search and Rescue called 11 News to say thanks to the cadets for the rescue. But SAR wants to remind everyone it's best to leave the rescues up to them. SAR said it has the training and proper gear for these types of rescues, which will help prevent further injury.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by AFA Grad Mom Location: N Richland Hills, Tx on Jul 27, 2010 at 08:48 AM
    As a USAFA Grad's mom I often get angry when reading some of the comments following uplifting articles concerning cadets because a few "haters" always seem to bash the story/cadets/AFA for whatever ridiculious reason they can find. Therefore, I was so happy and encouraged to see that all the comments regarding the cadets and their actions were so encouraging and complimentary! Thank you! These two cadets took exactly the action we would expect and we would want them to take. I am very proud of these two and also of all the cadets who work so hard up there at USAFA!! They are great kids and will be awesome officers! No doubt! Good for them!
  • by Broadnax USAFA 77 Location: Indianapolis on Jul 25, 2010 at 01:08 PM
    I agree with Brian USAFA 67's encouragement to the cadets. Great job cadets! Brian's characterization of SAR is unfortunate. A wonderful story like this should not be used to take a political cheap shot.
  • by Dad of an Academy Grad Location: Tampa, Fl on Jul 23, 2010 at 05:41 AM
    This generous act of service before self only reinforces the mission of the USAFA. Both of these cadets are both gentlemen and heroes- they stand out only because they got caught. Good job men.
  • by Mike Location: Olympia, WA on Jul 22, 2010 at 11:31 PM
    Great story. Sure call SAR if someone has a broken back or another situation where transport would likely worsen the situation. I'm proud of the cadets for taking initiative rather than sitting on their hands expecting someone else to come to the rescue.
  • by Brian USAFA'67 Location: Seattle on Jul 22, 2010 at 05:53 PM
    SAR must be a bunch of Chicago-like Obamanites-"organizing" a mountain rescue. Anybody with outdoor skills, stamina, and a cool head - should help. GREAT JOB-ZOOMIES!!
  • by Falcon96 Location: Tuscaloosa, AL on Jul 22, 2010 at 05:39 PM
    Sounds like a professional (and successful) SAR operation to me. Weather changes fast and better to get off the mountain sooner rather than later. Way to go guys!
  • by Kandie Location: Grafton,WV on Jul 20, 2010 at 03:13 PM
    Great Story! As a mother of a new 2014 cadet in basic training,I can only hope that they follow their peers! Shame on SAR for trying to take their sail out of the wind!These young officers in training are by far fit and trained for just this kind of mishap! As they clearly stated,they could see it wasn't a life threatning danger to move her. Great job cadets!You are already there, making a difference. Well done!
  • by Darrel Location: Pensacola, fl on Jul 20, 2010 at 08:55 AM
    Thanks for picking my cousin up off the trail. You are the type of future officers the Air Force needs, you are the type of officers I wouldn't have any trouble following your lead. Hopefully the AF gives ya an ATTA BOY if not you have mine. Chief, USN Ret.
  • by Patty Location: Charleston, WV on Jul 19, 2010 at 08:26 PM
    I never underestimate my nephew, Stephen. He is always ready to do the right thing. Great job to both cadets. You set such a good example to our youth!
  • by Helen Location: Houston, TX on Jul 19, 2010 at 04:17 PM
    THANK YOU Cadets for rescuing my little sister! MANY people just walked right on past her on that trail (including two doctors) before you both carried her away. We are so proud of our armed service men and women and you certainly did "Do Something Amazing" carrying her 2 miles UP the mountain. You two are the epitome of "No One Comes Close" and "Above All". Our family thanks you so very much! (And like my brother said earlier... she's single guys! ;) )
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