Dramatic helicopter rescue for injured woman on Piestewa Peak


by Bruce Haffner


Posted on February 22, 2013 at 11:01 AM

Updated Monday, Feb 25 at 5:57 PM

PHOENIX -- A dramatic helicopter rescue on Piestewa Peak Friday morning, as crews swoop in to pluck an injured woman from the mountainside, and fly her to safety.

The woman had climbed almost all the way up the mountain, when Phoenix firefighters got the call for help.

Due to the steep conditions and rugged terrain, crews decided the best course of action was to bring in a rescue helicopter to hoist her off the mountain. The patient was reportedly in distress, and was receiving advanced life support treatment.

Good Morning Arizona's Bruce Haffner was overhead in the Fort McDowell Casino NewsChopper as the rescue was underway. "She's in what they call the Stokes Basket," Bruce reported from above. "They've got the Firebird Rescue Helicopter here, with the cable hooked up to the winch on the helicopter. They're going to pull her up in the helicopter and get her off to the hospital pretty quickly."

The conditions on the mountain and the windy weather made it a tricky rescue operation.

"The pilots and the firefighters together, that is a very technical rescue," Bruce says. "They train for these things all the time."

Rescue crews were able to get the woman loaded into the basket, and hauled the basket up into the aircraft.

Bruce praised the rescuers for the quick and efficient operation, which was all completed with an hour. "You're flying an aircraft, you're keeping an eye on the instruments, you're keeping an eye on what you're doing and you're above the ground with a cable, so sometimes you can't see; you have to trust the firefighter technical rescue crew to give you directions.

The patient was safely brought down and was transported to the hospital in stable condition.