Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Love On The Rocks

Two local residents had a rocky start to their future together.

While hiking the Billy Goat Trail in Great Falls Park in Potomac, Maryland, on September 6, 2009 the couple paused to admire the beautiful scenery. The setting was perfect on a late summer day with the sun glinting off the Potomac River below, the breeze pushing through the thick tree canopy, and the grey rocky trail weaving up and down with steep crevasses and a long drop to the water.

The setting was perfect for a hike, but also for more romantic purposes…

A marriage proposal!

Without question many couples have become engaged in this area, however, this engagement also engaged the services of the Montgomery County, Maryland Department of Fire and Rescue Services and the United States Park Police Aviation Section.

The bride to be was swept off her feet.

After the magic moment, she slipped on the rocks and fell a short distance. This fall left her with head and chest injuries.

Montgomery County Fire medics could only reach her by boat followed by a scramble up a steep rock face. After the medics evaluated the patient and packaged her on a back board and stokes basket, they realized that she would either need to be lowered down the steep rocks or carried over a mile of rough terrain. Neither option was good considering her injuries.

This is where United States Park Police Aviation personnel excel in difficult technical rescue operations.

Eagle 2 with Sgt. Kevin Chittick in command, Sgt. Ken Burchell as co-pilot, and Sgt. Chris Perkins working the medic/rescue technician position responded to perform a hoist rescue of the patient.

Hoist rescues are difficult and dangerous as the aircraft must remain at a hover with minimal movement that would injure the patient. Should an engine failure happen, the pilot has few options for recovery with no forward air speed on the aircraft. Despite these dangers, United States Park Police Aviation practices this skill and the personnel are well equipped to perform a hoist.

The patient was hoisted aboard Eagle 2 and transported to Suburban Hospital in Bethesda, Maryland.

An adult female was treated for head and chest injuries and later released.

The injured woman slipped on the rocks even though she was properly attired for rough hiking wearing appropriate footwear and clothing. It was simply an accident.

Prior to her fall this woman answered the question posed to her.