Simone Del Rosario KGUN 9
Deputies Triage Back-to-Back Helicopter Rescues
August 31, 2014
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  • PIMA COUNTY (KGUN9-TV) – Another hiker was rescued by deputies on Mt. Lemmon Sunday afternoon on the Marshall Gulch trail.

    According to the Pima County Sheriff’s department, the woman got sick while hiking — they suspect she suffered from severe dehydration.

    It’s nothing new to search and rescue crews, who have been slammed of late in the summer months.

    But last Sunday, back-to-back rescues kept them extra busy.

    Once they took off at 6:30 a.m., it was one call after another.

    “It seemed like it all came down at one time — just one big event,” said Chief Deputy Chris Nanos.

    A missing person; a runaway; a man with a broken ankle — then two rescues at once.

    “How do your crews distinguish where to go first?” asked 9OYS reporter Simone Del Rosario.

    “It’s just triage — the injuries and the needs,” Nanos replied. “If our ground support teams can come in and get them out safely and quickly then naturally we’d rather use that.”

    But last Sunday, both patients had to be hoisted up by the helicopter in what’s called a “Screamer Suit.”

    “It might seem embarrassing but trust me, we’re not sending that piece of equipment because you’re not in need. You’re in need,” Nanos said. When someone is in need, the Nanos said they need the public to fight curiosity and stay away from the action.

    “We’re not there just cruising: We’re there for a mission. We’re there to rescue someone so we would ask that the general public clear out and give us room to operate.”

    During one of the rescues last weekend, onlookers got too close and the helicopter had to be lifted back up, delaying the rescue while ground crews cleared the area.

    Another reminder: If you go out hiking, do not go alone and always bring a charged cell phone, food and plenty of water.