Woman thrown from horse and badly hurt uses rescue beacon to call for help

Jean Cramer pulls out the antenna on a rescue beacon she says helped rescuers find her in Carlton on Sunday.

A woman who was left badly hurt and alone after being thrown from a horse in Yamhill County told KATU a special device helped rescuers find her.

Jean Cramer said Thursday she's carried rescue beacons for nearly a decade while hiking and horseback riding and never had to use them.

But after falling from a horse and crawling on her back towards her home Sunday, she decided to put the gadget to the test.

Cramer, walking in crutches with a broken leg and broken bones in her face, said she forgives her 7-year-old horse, Dusty.

"Wasn't your fault was it?" she said to the gelding while petting it.

She said she, the horse and a few other farm animals moved to Carlton from New Mexico about three weeks ago.

The trip was tough on Dusty.

"Very stressed. He lost probably a couple hundred pounds on the way out," Cramer said. "Being in a horse trailer between five and eight hours a day isn't easy."

On Sunday afternoon, Cramer took Dusty out for a ride.

She got a little less than a half-mile from her home when she said he turned quickly and left her lying at the edge of a wheat field.

"I hit hard," Cramer said. "I don't know if I really remember the impact."

Cramer said she didn't panic.

The lifetime adventurer and retired pilot with EMT experience said she knew her injuries were not life-threatening, so she started to crawl, trying not to hurt herself more in the process.

"I moved backwards on my butt, pushing with my right leg mainly and using my arms," Cramer said.

When asked how it felt, she said, "Well, it was pretty nice when there was vegetation."

Cramer also switched on her rescue beacon.

About an hour later, after she made it about 150 yards, she saw something.

"What I saw was the front end of a white car," Cramer said, "and, you know, I'm sitting there and I started waving."

The white car was a deputy.

The Yamhill County Sheriff's Office said he was dispatched after they got a call with Cramer's coordinates from the U.S. Air Force.

"I was very happy that it worked. It saved me a couple more hours of stress," Cramer said, "and, you know, in other circumstances it could save a person's life."

Surgeons put a bar in Cramer's leg on Monday and she said she should be back in the saddle in a couple of months.

The beacon she owns costs about $270.

Others range in price from $150 to more than $500.

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