Stranded Mom and Girls

March 30, 2018
Dripping Springs Area

Written by Glenn Henderson

I received a call at 5:30 from call captain Gwenda Yates that Star 9 was requesting one RMRU person to respond to Hemet Ryan airbase. I quickly gather up my gear and was on scene 20 minutes later.

A young mother had walked off the end of a trail near the Dripping Springs campground outside of Temecula with three small girls ages (7, 7, and 5). They were stranded on the side of a hill in heavy brush without water, food or warm clothing. Pilot Ryan Burk and TFO (Technical Flight Officer) Ray Heirs and I discussed how to plan the order of hoists to get them all out.

We lifted off at 6:10 and flew to the location of our stranded hikers. Ray put me on the hook and lowered me to them. Yikes!!!! The little girls were so small! The regular screamer suits were going to be way too big, so we would have to do three separate trips with our one child size suit.

The girls didn’t want to go but after talking to them about how it would be a fun ride, just like Magic Mountain and that I would go with each of them they slowly consented. I got the first one suited up and connected us to a “two up”. This is a device with an O ring that had two straps attached to it, one for me and one for her. As we lifted off I was able to wrap both arms around her and hold her tight until we got to the door of the helicopter. We got her inside, buckled into the seat and flew her to waiting Sheriff’s deputies on the ground.

We then flew back and did the same routine two more times and flew each girl back to the deputies on the ground. We then flew back, and I hooked Mom up with another screamer suit and she was lifted to the helicopter. I soon followed and we all flew back as the sun was now gone and it was getting dark.

We got back to Hemet Ryan around 7:15 for a debrief of the mission. Great flying by Ryan as this was his first rescue with RMRU. He did a very professional job holding the helicopter rock steady, and to veteran, Ray who never gets excited, just does his usual great job to bring the hook to me perfectly 5 times this evening.

RMRU Members Involved: Glenn Henderson.