“In this case, a cell phone would have no signal to call or text, a personal locator device is the proper equipment for this type of adventure.”
It’s not massive news that a hiker with a severe knee injury was airlifted off a mountain side in California but it is quite interesting for those of us who frequent remote areas in the mountains to see how an airlift rescue like this goes down. Basically the dude popped his personal locator beacon (which was crucial because there wasn’t any cell service) and in came the cavalry. Here is complete incident report from the CHP Valley Division:
Inyo County, Calif. – On September 6, 2017, approximately 12:30 p.m., Central Division Air Operations (Fresno) contacted Valley Division Air Operations and requested assistance with a personal locator beacon (PLB) activation in the area of Mount Lamarck, Inyo County. Mount Lamarck is in the Darwin Canyon area with extreme terrain and elevations in excess of 12,000 ft. H-20 responded to the area and began the search in the area of the GPS coordinates. The crew located the Mr. Mould lying in a tent and began looking for a suitable landing zone.
Two off-duty Sequoia National Park Rangers happened to be hiking in the same area of the victim and made radio contact with H-20. The crew asked them to contact Mr. Mould to determine his needs and the extent of any injuries so that they may prepare for the rescue. They advised that he had a severe knee injury and was unable to walk on his own without assistance. Due to the elevation of nearly 12,000 Ft., H-20 had to land at a lower elevation to off-load gear to reduce weight which increases aircraft performance. Upon returning to the scene, the crew landed approximately 200 feet below Mr. Mould’s tent and hiked to his location. He was determined to be stable and ambulatory with assistance from the crew. Flight Officer/Paramedic Hallam carried most of Mr. Mould’s weight on his back and assisted him down the steep grade to the helicopter. Once at the helicopter, Mr. Mould was loaded and flown to the Mammoth/Yosemite Airport and transferred to Mono County Fire Paramedics. He was transported to a local hospital for treatment.
Even though Mr. Mould was hiking alone in a very remote area, he had a personal locator beacon that may have saved his life. These items are not very expensive and send a distress signal to satellites which prompt search and rescue crews to respond. In this case, a cell phone would have no signal to call or text, a PLB is the proper equipment for this type of adventure.
p.s. I think rescue divisions across the country should have youtube accounts as active as the CHP Valley Division. It not only raises awareness for mountain safety but gives the general public a greater appreciation for what our brave rescuers do on the daily.