When an injured woman in her seventies who was hiking in Phoenix, Arizona saw a helicopter coming to her rescue, she probably breathed a sigh of relief. That sigh, however, quickly turned into a desperate attempt to hold down her lunch.
According to reports, the unidentified woman fell and hit her head while hiking to Piestewa Peak. Emergency responders quickly showed up to the scene and determined that a helicopter rescue was the best option, so the Phoenix Police Department dispatched one to the scene. She was packed into a Bauman bag and basket for removal from the area, something that the rescuers have done a lot of. In the last six years, the department has performed over 200 of them. When the helicopter lifted off, however, a slight problem made itself evident.
According to Fox10 News, pilot Derek Geisel told reporters that the line that was supposed to keep the basket from violently spinning as it’s struck by the rotor wash broke. “We brought it down again, brought it back up, hoping some of the spin would lessen, which it didn’t, obviously,” he said.
Although rare, the whirlwind of a basket ride is a known phenomenon to rescuers. “Sometimes if we’re in a canyon, it’s a strong windy day, it will spin on us,” said chief pilot Paul Apolinar to reporters. “It’s not something that happens very often, but sometimes it just does. And when it does, we’re trained to take care of it.”
Thankfully, the injured hiker had no lasting effects from her wild ride. Firefighters said she felt nauseous and dizzy afterwards, but wasn’t affected otherwise. “Reports from the hospital are that she had no ill effects from the spin,” Phoenix Fire Capt. Bobby Dubnow said.