A group of rescuers pulled off a daring extraction operation earlier this month as a means of saving an endangered climber.
A 27-year-old Texan man had climbed to the summit of Mt. Hood in Oregon where he planned on taking an excess of medication to commit suicide. Upon making it to the top of the mountain, however, the climber changed his mind.
But the man could not get down on his own – so after calling for help, the 304th rescue squadron from the Oregon Army National Guard arrived by helicopter to help.
The conditions were risky; due to the warm weather, there was an abundance of avalanches, and the rocks and ice were prone to falling.
Not to be deterred from their rescue, the pilot managed to pull off a “pinnacle landing” at 11,000 feet, meaning they parked the rear two wheels of the Chinook helicopter on the mountainside so the rescuers could board the aircraft by plank.
Frighteningly enough, the unusual positioning meant that the helicopter’s rotors were at chest height, rather than far above their heads.
“Because of the angle, we had to crawl out there just to get under the rotor blades,” the squadron’s Joshua Kruse told KOIN. “It’s kind of surreal but you just have to trust that the pilots know what they’re doing.”
Thankfully, everyone made it out safely. The whole rescue operation took roughly 30 minutes from take-off in Welches to landing. The climber was then loaded into an ambulance and taken to the hospital.
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