Thursday, August 18, 2016

California Highway Patrol copter, Fresno deputy rescue hiker on Pacific Crest Trail

Officers in the California Highway Patrol helicopter and a Fresno County Sheriff’s deputy rescued a hiker who had a medical emergency Sunday evening along the Pacific Crest Trail north of Edison Lake, sheriff’s spokesman Tony Botti reported.

Tara Steele, 66, from Santa Rosa was hiking the Pacific Crest Trail when she suffered an apparent stroke and was able to activate an emergency personal locator beacon.

The helicopter, piloted by CHP officer Riley Dixon with flight officer Rusty Hotchkiss and deputy Johnny Reyes, flew to the area of Brave Lake. Reyes was lowered to the ground where he helped Steele back to the copter so she could be flown to Community Regional Medical Center for treatment.

Story and video: 

On the evening of August 14, 2016, California Highway Patrol Helicopter 40 (H-40) was requested by the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office to assist with a search and rescue of an ill hiker.

The victim, 66 year old Tara Steele from Santa Rosa, CA, was hiking the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) when she became ill Sunday afternoon with what she believed to be signs and symptoms of a possible stroke. 

Steele activated her emergency personal locator beacon giving information to her family that she was in need of rescue. 

The personal locator beacon gave coordinates indicating that Steele was located along the PCT just east of Brave Lake in Fresno County.

H-40 (Pilot Officer Riley Dixon and Flight Officer/Paramedic Rusty Hotchkiss) responded to the area with Fresno County Sheriff’s Deputy Johnny Reyes. 

The crew located Steele in a heavily forested area.

Using H- 40’s hoist, Deputy Reyes was lowered down to Steele’s location with rescue equipment.

With the assistance of additional hikers in the area, Deputy Reyes prepared Steele for a hoist rescue. 

With little daylight remaining, Steele and Deputy Reyes were hoisted safely up to H-40. 

Steele was transported to Edison Lake where she was transferred to the EMS helicopter SkyLife 1 for patient care and transport to Community Regional Medical Center, Fresno, CA.

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