An aviation rescue team swooped in to bring an injured Stillwater woman to safety after she injured her hip hiking at Split Rock Lighthouse State Park on the North Shore on Monday afternoon.
The Lake County rescue team initially attended to 61-year-old Lori Mildon, but the terrain was rough and the nearest paved area was two miles away. Mildon dislocated her hip after she stopped to rest and then stood up to continue her hike and slipped.
A crew from the Minnesota Aviation Rescue Team or MART flew from St. Paul and used a helicopter to move her to a nearby parking lot and a waiting ambulance. MART is made up of members from the Minnesota State Patrol and the St. Paul Fire Department.
“I dropped off two rescuers and the stretcher that they have… it’s called a Bauman bag,” said Minnesota State Patrol pilot Dave Willar. “I set them down, loitered in the area until they had her all packaged up and ready for transport. Once they had her ready to go, I came back in. We hooked up … flew downriver to where the ambulance was waiting for us. It’s a very quick and efficient way of doing a rescue.”
Go-Pro video of the rescue, shot by the crew, shows them lifting Mildon and getting her to a parking lot. She was taken by ambulance to St. Mary’s Hospital, where she was in stable condition.
“The topography and the terrain were very challenging to actually get somebody out, and you risk further injuring the patient and potentially the rescuers,” said St. Paul Fire Capt. Alan Gabriele. “The service that we provide is really valuable from both the rescuer and the patient’s perspective.”
MART gets requested for service 15 to 20 times per year. In some cases, the situation resolves itself but in other cases, like the one on Monday, MART members assist with the rescue.