A 74-year-old hiker whose head and face were injured in a fall on a Phoenix mountain endured a wild ride in a stretcher as she was being hoisted into a helicopter.
KPNX-TV’s television chopper recorded the mishap as the rescue crew lifted the injured hiker from Piestewa Peak on Tuesday morning. The crew said a second line meant to prevent the spinning broke, causing the stretcher to spin ever-faster in the backwash of the helicopter’s rotor blades.
“Sometimes if we’re in a canyon, or a strong windy day, it will just spin on us,” said Paul Apolinar, the helicopter pilot. “It doesn’t happen very often, and when it does we’re trained to take care of it.”
Eventually the rescue copter’s forward motion slowed the spinning enough to bring the woman into the cabin.
“As soon as we landed with her in the base landing zone and got her to the definitive treatment to the crews that were waiting, they absolutely did address the fact that she did spin,” said Phoenix fire Capt. Bobby Dubnow. “She had a little bit of dizziness and some nausea that they were able to give some medications for, and reports from the hospital are that she was stable and suffered no affects from the spin.”