Saturday, November 08, 2014

Firebird 10: Hikers rescued from Piestewa Peak

PHOENIX (KSAZ) - It was a dramatic rescue; a pair of hikers who went off the trail at Piestewa Peak yesterday and fell.

Phoenix Fire Department crews called for a helicopter and a specially trained crew to rescue them.

But this one rescue looked different from the rest.

Phoenix Fire uses helicopters for some of the mountain rescues because it is more efficient and a speedier way to reach people who may need immediate medical attention.

And that's why yesterday with two hikers injured who fell, and one of them a 17-year-old girl who had an open fracture on her leg, they used a helicopter.

It could make you dizzy or even nauseous to watch the video.

A 17-year-old girl was strapped to a rescue device called a "baumann bag," spinning like a propeller as a helicopter flew her off Piestewa Peak and down to a waiting ambulance.

She was with an 18-year-old man, both were hiking when they went off trail and fell 10 feet.

He had shoulder injuries; she had hurt her leg.

Phoenix Fire has special units who train hard to handle these situations.

The rescue went off smoothly although there was that spinning, so why did the basket spin so much?

"The rotor wash from the canyon started hitting the basket, and once it started to move it gets a lot of movement, but once you get out of the canyon it stops the rotor wash and settles down," said Capt. Jeff Zientek.

Both hikers are now recovering from their injuries, a little about the helicopter it's called Firebird 10. The Fire and Police Department share the Italian made helicopter.

It has two engines so it can keep flying if one engine goes out; it's also the only one like it in the state.

A highly skilled Phoenix Fire crew trains continually just to pull off these tricky mountain rescues, and that training paid off yesterday.

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