Mt. Baldy (CBSLA.com) — A San Bernardino County Fire Department helicopter swooped in and rescued an injured hiker on Mt. Baldy Monday afternoon. The dangerous rescue was caught on camera.
The woman had slipped 50 feet down the Devil’s Backbone Trail and ended up on a steep side of a snowy mountain.
During her fall, she managed to stab her ice axe into the snow and hung on to it for dear life.
Captain Paramedic Eric Spies captured the rescue on a camera strapped to his chest.
“You’re just focused on your mission and getting it done,” he said.
The video showed Spies moving fast to get the harness around the hiker. “The gusts were pretty hard to keep it steady,” he said.
The conditions were dangerous. The rescue was tricky for the team’s pilot.
“The pilot allowed the helicopter to move, and it pulls him off of her, and she’s not secured. It could potentially cause her to fall” a few hundred feet onto sharp rocks, a San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department pilot pointed out.
“It wouldn’t be a position I would want to be in. I would consider her very lucky,” San Bernardino County Fire Department Captain Jeremy Kern said.
She was told to take her backpack off. If it fell, better it than her.
She was also told to leave her ice axe that had saved her up to this point.
“Lift up. You’re going to hug me as tight as you can,” Spies told the hiker. “Okay, here we go. Hang tight.”
Strapped together, they were lifted off the mountain and into the chopper to safety.
“She was very thankful for what we were able to do for her,” Spies said.