Injured woman, 74, spins wildly at high speed in helicopter rescue basket


"They tried to stop some of the spin with the line that Paul was referring to, but that didn't work and it eventually broke", said Derek Geisel, who was piloting the helicopter during the rescue. She she was loaded into the stokes basket, it started to spin fast. It's something that is a known phenomenon in the hoist rescue industry.

Fire officials say the woman was put in a stretcher-like device that is lifted up from the ground to the helicopter. In fact, they said they encounter this situation during training. The basket spun wildly for about 40 seconds, with the crew raising and lowering the 74-year-old several times while trying to slow the spinning.

A line attached to the basket is meant to keep the basket from spinning but, according to a pilot for the local police department, that didn't happen.

Although she was spinning around and moving out of her way, the rescued woman in question is doing just fine.


The patient is now in stable condition and has no ill effects from the spinning except for dizziness and minor nausea, according to hospital officials.

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"We brought it down again, brought it back up, hoping some of the spin would lessen - which it didn't, obviously", Geisel said.

Fire Department Capt. Kenny Overton told The Arizona Republic the woman suffered a facial laceration, wrist and hip injuries and possibly a fractured nose while hiking the peak.

"Reports from the hospital are that she is stable and she had no ill effects from the spin", Dubnow said in the press conference, adding that responders were aware of the spin before treating her.

'It's not something that's inherent to the basket or inherent to the bag.

"It's not something that occurs very often, but when we train for it we actually have to go out with weight in the basket and we have to induce it to make the basket spin", he said.