Wyo. volunteers pause search-and-rescue training to help injured 16-year-old skier
Responders assessed the teen and packaged him for a short flight while harnessed to a rope attached to a helicopter, which flew him to an ambulance
By Brooke Baitinger
The Charlotte Observer
TETON COUNTY, Wyo. — Search and rescue volunteers were flying in a rescue helicopter on a training operation when they got a call that a 16-year-old skier was injured in Wyoming.
The March 7 training operation quickly became a real-life rescue mission, and they flew out to rescue him just after 10 a.m., Teton County Search and Rescue said in a news release posted to Facebook. Grand Targhee Ski Patrol and avalanche dogs were already in the air with them and tagged along for the ride.
The skier had aired over a steep natural cliff and crashed into something under the snow’s surface when he landed, the release said.
He and his partner had snowmobiled deep into Mosquito Creek that morning and were about 7 miles from the trailhead.
When rescuers arrived, they determined the best way to get him out of the remote backcountry was with a “short-haul, which lifts a patient harnessed to the end of a rope attached to the belly of the helicopter,” the release said.
They assessed his injuries, packaged him for the short-haul and flew him to an ambulance waiting at a landing zone near Fall Creek Road, the release said.
The whole mission took just over one hour from the time of the initial 911 call, the release said.
“This was due to the speed of the helicopter and good flying weather, of course, but also the extensive training the volunteers do all year long in order to quickly and efficiently perform complex missions,” officials said in the release.
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