Helicopters Hoist Multiple Victims in Distress - Mountain News : News

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Helicopters Hoist Multiple Victims in Distress

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Posted: Thursday, January 11, 2018 9:44 am

Six major rescue operations were necessary in mountain areas on Jan. 5, 6 and 9, according to reports from the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department. Such incidents serve as reminders that hikers and others enjoying the Great Outdoors need to avoid dangerous situations. It is essential to be prepared for bad weather, rescue efforts delayed by darkness, an overnight stay and other adverse circumstances, due to anything Mother Nature might send in their paths — often without warning.

• A 40-year-old Pomona woman became stuck at the top of the San Antonio Waterfall near Mt. Baldy on Jan. 5. Due to rocky terrain, drop-offs and diminishing light conditions, San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Aviation responded for a hoist rescue. Reina Perez had been stranded for about three hours, unable to move from the ledge until she was rescued. She was not injured.

• Along the Vivian Creek Trail in the Forest Falls area on Jan. 6, a 32-year-old resident of Redlands continued to hike alone to the summit of San Gorgonio after her friend became tired and turned back. During the descent, a weather system set in, causing Bethany Sloan to become disoriented. She lost her way on the trail as she descended.

Around 3 p.m., Sloan activated her personal alert system (PAS). In response, Deputy Franklin requested assistance from Sheriff’s Aviation and Yucaipa Search and Rescue (SAR). They searched main trails using Forward Looking Infrared (Flir) and night vision goggles. Bad weather halted the aviation search, but SAR members hiked throughout the night and into the morning without success.

The search resumed Sunday morning. Around 8 a.m., the AR306 helicopter located Sloan on a small ledge at the top of the waterfall. Deputy Yee was lowered to the ledge, where he placed Sloan into a rescue harness. The two were hoisted about 70 feet to the helicopter. No one was injured.

• The storm on Jan. 9 caused Lytle Creek Wash and the Santa Ana River to swell with fast-moving water. A sheriff’s patrol helicopter located a subject clinging to a tree, surrounded by water and unable to move. A rescue helicopter responded and hoisted the victim to fire department personnel on shore.

• Two subjects and a dog were stuck on an island in the Santa Ana River. The helicopter crew lowered two rescuers who placed the victims into rescue harnesses and their pet into a dog rescue bag. All three were hoisted up to the helicopter and flown to fire department personnel in a nearby parking lot.

• Later, fire dispatch advised Air Rescue 306 of a male subject in the water 150 yards downstream of the previous incident. The victim was placed into a rescue harness and flown to fire department personnel nearby.

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