A botched helicopter rescue of a hiker from a mountain in Arizona has resulted in the injured 74-year-old woman being spun round at high speed while strapped to a stretcher as she was being winched up into the aircraft.
The incident, which has been captured on film, shows the aircraft crew attempting to winch the woman up into the helicopter.
As the stretcher nears the belly of the aircraft, it begins to rotate faster and faster until it is a whirling blur.
Unable to immediately bring the stretcher on board, the helicopter flies away with the woman strapped to the stretcher on the dangling line, spinning at high speed over the mountains.
Phoenix Police Air Unit lead pilot Paul Apolinar said: “We were doing a hoist rescue, we do a lot of them. It was a normal rescue. Sometimes when we bring the helicopter up from the ground, it will start to spin, so we have a line attached to the basket to help prevent that. Today it didn’t.
Derek Giesel who was the pilot in command of the operation added: “This has happened in the past but it’s been quite a while. We’ve learned some of the techniques to get rid of it and one of them, which you can probably see in the video is to lower the load, and it does start to stop, but then we brought it back up and it gets into the same downwash from the aircraft and started to spin again.”
Captain Bobby Dubnow said: “As dramatic as it looks … she suffered no ill-effects from that spin other than being a little bit dizzy. The reports from the hospital are that she is stable and suffered no effects from the spin.”
He said the helicopter had been called out because she had taken a “ground-level fall” and had “some facial and head injuries, also there were some reports she had an altered level of consciousness, feeling dizzy and unable to walk anymore.”