Crescent City VFD and Ambulance Staff Trapped Yesterday by Rising Tides—Helicopter Rescue

Kym Kemp / Saturday, May 25, 2013 @ 2:20 p.m. / News

Photo from Google Maps. The Nickel Creek Trailhead is slightly southwest of the sharp corner on Endert Beach Rd. 

UPDATE 5/27 P.M.: Vertical Magazine which bills itself as the pulse of the helicopter industry tells the story of this rescue from the Sonoma CO. Sheriff’s helicopter team’s point of view.

 

The Henry One flight crew, consisting of a pilot, deputy sheriff/tactical flight officer and paramedic — all of whom are all trained to perform night long-line rescues — reported to the Sonoma County Sheriff’s hangar, located at the Charles M. Schulz Airport in Santa Rosa, Calif. The crew began making plans for the two-hour flight to Del Norte County, which included a refueling stop in Arcata, Calif. 
The Henry One flight crew departed the airport at approximately 9:30 p.m. and arrived at the scene of the rescue at approximately 11:45 p.m. The crew located the first responders and configured the aircraft for a night long-line rescue using a 100-foot rope attached to the belly of the aircraft. Within minutes, pilot Paul Bradley was flying Deputy Sheriff Chris Mahoney and paramedic Don Ricci to the first responders. 

 

 

The details from the story answer a lot of questions about the rescue. Read the whole fascinating story here.

 

 

UPDATE 2:30 P.M.: Coast Guard Lt., Bernie Garrigan, says that bringing the woman up was a “challenging hoist.”  By the time the helicopter could return, the elevated risk of night time flying added in as well as the fact the rescuers were not in danger meant that dropping supplies and waiting for the tide to recede so that the VFD and ambulance crews could leave the way they came was “the better answer.”

He had estimated that there were nine stranded rescuers.

Original post below:

Around 5 P.M. yesterday, a woman was reported to have fallen near Endert Beach just south of Crescent City. Emergency crews from the Crescent City Volunteer Fire Dept. and Del Norte Ambulance rushed to the scene. The teams had to hike from the Nickel Creek Trailhead along Endert Beach and crawl through a cave to another isolated cove where the woman was on a peninsula. 

The woman, who reportedly suffered multiple traumas as well as head injuries, received treatment. At this time, it was noted that the tide had come in covering the beach and filling the cave. The Coast Guard was notified and one of their helicopters took out the woman and her male companion by basket.

Darkness was coming on and the Coast Guard chose not to rescue the rescuers.  The helicopter dropped a supply package including blankets. With waves lapping at their feet, the stranded emergency crew (estimated at 11 people) huddled wet and cold on the rocks.  Some began to suffer hypothermia.  

The Sonoma Co. Sheriff’s helicopter eventually arrived and using a harness was able to get the crews out of the waves and up onto a cliff by approximately 12:30 A.M.  All were safe and unharmed.

(Note: photo used on main page panel was a LoCO stock photo.)

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