Cooperative helicopter rescue effort saves injured hiker in Utah

A cooperative rescue effort involving multiple helicopters saved the life of a 22-year-old man in Utah on Wednesday night.

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Utah Highway Patrol (UHP) chief pilot Luke Bowman told Vertical that his agency received a call for assistance from the Summit County Sheriff’s Office just after 7 p.m. on Oct. 18. Two hikers had been descending King’s Peak in the Uinta Mountains when one of them tumbled 200 yards down a snowy chute, sustaining critical injuries to his head and chest.

Both UHP and Salt Lake City-based Intermountain Life Flight dispatched helicopters to the scene. After the Life Flight helicopter located the injured hiker at an elevation of approximately 11,500 feet, Bowman dropped off two UHP tactical flight officers nearby, allowing them to reach and stabilize the patient.

Meanwhile, the Utah National Guard sent a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter equipped for nighttime hoist rescues to the scene. Arriving around 11 p.m., the Black Hawk crew hoisted the patient and delivered him to a nearby meadow, where he was transferred to the waiting LifeFlight helicopter and flown to a hospital in Salt Lake.

Helicopters from the Utah National Guard, Utah Highway Patrol and Intermountain Life Flight worked together to save a hiker's life in Utah on Oct. 18. Summit County Sheriff Photo
Helicopters from the Utah National Guard, Utah Highway Patrol and Intermountain Life Flight worked together to save a hiker’s life in Utah on Oct. 18. Summit County Sheriff Photo
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“This was a great cooperative effort,” said Bowman, who filmed the rescue from his helicopter’s forward-looking infrared camera before extracting the injured hiker’s companion and the UHP officers on the ground.

“We are extremely grateful to the Utah Army National Guard, Intermountain Life Flight, Utah Department of Public Safety and U.S. Forest Service for their assistance in a hoist operation last night in the King’s Peak area of Summit County,” the Summit County Sheriff’s Office wrote in a Facebook post. “Their assistance to our search-and-rescue team was invaluable, and the teamwork saved a life.”

 

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