Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Difficult Aviation Rescue

One hiker on Old Rag Mountain in Shenandoah National Park is safe following a difficult hoist rescue by United States Park Police Aviation Eagle 2.

Eagle 2 was dispatched to Old Rag Mountain on August 11, 2009 at about 10:00 am to help National Park Service Rangers in extracting an injured person. The Park Rangers were responding to a hiker who had injured his leg in a fall. These Rangers knew that they faced a difficult rescue because the patient was so deeply in the woods on the mountain that they would need to hike for almost two hours just to find him. After that, they would likely need to carry the injured person for several hours up and down the highest mountain in Shenandoah National Park just to get him to a waiting ambulance.

The temperature was approaching 100 degrees with high humidity.

This is exactly the type of rescue that demonstrates the value of airborne law enforcement.

Eagle 2 piloted by Sergeant Kevin Chittick and staffed with Rescue Technicians Paramedic Sergeant Christopher Perkins and Paramedic Officer David Hurley flew eighty miles to this scene.

After the aircraft arrived, the crew spotted the injured person on a rock. The area was surrounded by trees, had steep rocky faces, and unpredictable winds coming off the mountain.

Sgt. Chittick located an area near the patient where he could discharge a Paramedic using a step off. Ofc. Hurley leapt to the ground, and carrying medical supplies hiked to the patient.

After the patient was evaluated and treated, Sgt. Perkins, operating a hoist with a rescue net, lifted the patient out of the scene, and to a waiting ambulance. Once the patient was picked up by the ambulance, Eagle 2 returned to retrieve Ofc. Hurley by hoisting him up with the "Jungle Penetrator."

Dropping the rescue net and penetrator through the trees is hazardous as if the equipment caught on a tree, it would need to be detached from the aircraft.