Rotor wash spins basket below helicopter during mountain rescue

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PHOENIX -- A helicopter rescue on Piestewa Peak on Wednesday took an unexpected turn -- several of them.

A 52-year-old hiker had fallen about three-quarters of the way up the trail. In addition to a cut on his head, he was also suffering neck and back pain.

Rescuers used a Stokes basket to lift the man off the trail and up to the helicopter, but as that basket got close to the door, it started to spin faster and faster.

"In our training, we try to prevent that from happening," explained Capt. Scott Walker of the Phoenix Fire Department. "Unfortunately, any rope or cable system, the way they're made, have a twist to them. It's possible with what we call rotor wash -- the air that's coming off the helicopter blades -- and the cable, the way it's made, you can get a spinning movement,"

Rescuers in the helicopter lowered the basket to get the spinning under control.

The victim is expected to recover.