VIDEO: Arizona hiker spins uncontrollably during helicopter rescue

Posted at 8:37 AM, Jun 05, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-05 10:37:26-04

PHOENIX (KPNX) –  A 74-year-old woman was left spinning in mid-air when she was airlifted from Arizona’s Piestewa Peak Tuesday morning.

Rescue crews responded to reports of a hiker at the mountain with facial and head injuries who was feeling dizzy and unable to walk on her own.

The woman was placed in a basket to hoist her off the mountain. However, as the helicopter pulled her up, the basket began to spin fast.

Phoenix firefighters said it is a rare occurrence, but it has been known to happen. In fact, they said they encounter this situation during training.

“It’s something that occurs every now and then and we’re trained to deal with it,” said Paul Apolinar, the Phoenix Police Air Unit’s lead pilot.

The helicopter’s downdraft can cause the basket to spin. In the video, you can see the spinning gets worse the closer the basket gets to the helicopter.

The line that is designed to prevent these incidents eventually broke, according to pilot Derek Geisel.

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