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Helicopter Rescue Mission Turns Horrible as Injured Hiker Spins in Basket

Talk about a theme park ride from hell: an injured hiker was being rescued by helicopter from the Piestwa Peak in Phoenix, Arizona when the basket she’d been placed in started spinning out of control.
Mountain rescue goes wrong as Stokes basket begins to spin uncontrollably 20 photos
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And it did so for nearly a minute, at a very high rate of speed. Video of the incident is also available at the bottom of the page: it’s attained viral status once it was posted to social media, prompting a public outcry against the Phoenix Fire Department, which was conducting the operations.

The outrage was such that the Department saw fit to hold a press conference to address and explain the incident. You can also find the full video of it at the bottom of the page.

To start off on a positive note, the 74-year-old injured hiker was eventually taken to safety and the spinning stopped once the helicopter was moving. She suffered facial, hip and wrist injuries, but only got a bit dizzy and nauseous from all that spinning.

“We do mountain rescues all of the time, but this particular one gathered quite a bit of attention because during the rescue, she was packaged on a hoist in a Stokes basket and she started to spin,”
Assistant Fire Chief Shelly Jamison began the meeting by saying. She then presented the team of experts that would explain the incident.

To sum it up, it was possible because the line that should have kept the Stokes basket from spinning broke so that, each time they tried to bring it up closer to the rotors, it would spin faster.

“When they start to lower the load, [the basket] does actually start to stop. And then we slowly brought it back up, it gets into the same downwash from the aircraft and it started to spin again,” Derek Geisel, the pilot on duty, explains. “Once we got the forward flight, the spin got to the point where they were safely able to bring the patient up to the aircraft.”

While not impossible, this type of incident is so rare they have to manually spin the basket while training pilots for it. In the last 6 years, the Department has carried out 210 mountain rescues and an incident of this kind has only happened twice before.

 




 
 
 
 
 

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