Rescuers are answering questions about footage showing a helicopter rescue seemingly spinning out of control.
By Tuesday afternoon, footage of the rescue basket spinning wildly fast with the injured woman inside had gone viral on social media.
“We do mountain rescues all of the time, but this particular one gathered quite a bit of attention because during the rescue, [the injured woman] was packaged on a hoist in a Stokes basket and she started to spin,” Assistant Fire Chief Shelly Jamison told ABC15. (RELATED: Border Patrol Makes Life-Saving Rescues After Migrant Smugglers Reportedly Dumped Two Disabled People Into A River)
“Sometimes, when we bring the helicopter up from the ground, [the basket] will start to spin,” Paul Apolinar, chief pilot of the police department’s aviation unit, said. “We have a line attached to the basket that’s supposed to prevent that. Today, it didn’t.”
She’s OK! Officials say 74-year-old hiker was treated for dizziness, nausea but otherwise didn’t suffer as her stretcher spun ever-faster during a helicopter rescue. https://t.co/DHJlGANK5S
— The Associated Press (@AP) June 5, 2019
Officials clarified that the tendency of the basket to spin during a rescue isn’t something that happens often, but it also isn’t a freak-of-nature incident.
“[The potential for the basket to spin] is something that’s a known phenomenon in the hoist rescue industry,” Apolinar, the chief pilot, said. “In the last six years, we’ve used a hoist 210 times on mountain rescues. In that time, we know of [a similar situation] happening twice.”
“It’s not something that’s inherent to the basket or inherent to the bag,” he added. “It’s just something that occurs every now and then and we train to deal with it.”
The rescued woman spun in the basket for roughly a minute before the spinning subsided and the crew safely delivered her to an ambulance.