PCT Brocken Leg

February 20, 2020
PCT Trail

Written by Glenn Henderson

So, after a long day with extra time on the racquetball court I decided to go to bed a little early, 8:30. 9:00 PM and Gwenda calls and tells me that we have a woman on the PCT (Pacific Crest Trail) with a broken leg and I’m needed at the Hemet Ryan hanger for a hoist rescue. So much for early to bed.

I met teammate Cameron Dickinson at the hanger and discussed the plan with Pilot Manny Romero and TFO (Technical Flight Officer) Michael Chevalier. Our plan was to drop Cameron off first, then the fold up stretcher and then me. When we got to the injured person, we were too heavy to hold our position, so we flew to Keenwild helicopter base and dropped me off. Another flight back to drop Cam and the gear and then back to get me. It was a pretty tight area to fly in as there were big Pine trees all around us.

When I got to the subject, we had decided that it did not seem broken but was definitely injured. We decided to use a screamer suit to hoist our subjects’ husband out first, fly him to Keenwild and then return to fly her out the same way and to a waiting ambulance.

This all happened without incident as Cameron and I gathered up all the belongings and prepare to be hoisted back into the helicopter. Cameron went up first, then the two subjects’ packs, then our two packs plus medical equipment, then the litter and then me last. They almost had enough room for me but only half of me. I and Michael were left half in and half out of the helicopter for the flight back to Hemet Ryan airbase. It was a little cold but fortunately was not as cold as it could have been.

When we got back to the hanger Michael told us that that was his first hoist. Just shows the great training that the Sheriff’s Aviation unit has. Mike did 8 separate hoists flawlessly bringing the hook to us every time. Manny did his usual steady flying bring the helicopter in with trees all around him, flying like it was no big deal. Thanks, you guys. Always a pleasure to work with professionals.

RMRU Members Involved: Cameron Dickinson and Glenn Henderson.