PHOENIX (FOX 10) - Firefighters say a woman in her 70s was rescued after she was injured while hiking on Piestewa Peak. This happened Tuesday morning near 24th Street and Lincoln Drive.
According to Capt. Rob McDade of the Phoenix Fire Department, "Firefighters made patient contact and decided that the best course of action was to fly the patient off the mountain."
The airlift did not go as it was expected to -- take a look at the video. During the rescue, air turbulence from the helicopter's rotor caused a bumpy ride for the woman. She was seen on a stretcher spinning at a fast pace below the helicopter. The woman was then transported to an area trauma center for evaluation.
Accounts differ as to the exact age of the woman, with some
During a news conference Tuesday afternoon, officials talked about the rescue that has since garnered worldwide attention.
"Sometimes, when we bring the helicopter up from the ground, it will start to spin. We have a line attached to the basket to help prevent that. Today, it didn't. The basket started to spin." said Paul Apolinar, a chief pilot with the Phoenix Police Department. "It's something that's a known phenomenon in the hoist rescue industry, so we train for it. We did a couple of procedures to stop it, mitigate it, and be able to eventually get her into the basket."
"This has happened in the past, but it's been quite a while," said a Phoenix Police pilot who Apolinar said flew the helicopter during the rescue operation. "In the past, we kind of learned some of the techniques to get rid of it, and one -- you probably actually see it in the video -- is when they start to lower the load, and it actually does start to stop, and then we slowly brought it back up, but it gets into the same downwash from the aircraft, started to spin again."
Fire officials defended the use of a helicopter for the rescue.
"In this case, the crews decided the helicopter was gonna be the best option, based on the patient's age, the mechanism of her injury, the heat of the day, the terrain, the amount of work and time it would have taken to bring her down in a big wheel or other means, the helicopter was the correct decision," said Cpt. Bobby Dubnow with Phoenix Fire.
Cpt. Dubnow said the woman initially had a bit of nausea and dizziness, but otherwise suffered no ill effects from the spin.
>>VIDEO: Woman airlifted from Piestewa Peak