New York Helicopter Rescue: ‘I’ll Never Forget the Fear in Her Eyes’
Wittenberg Mountain in Ulster County, NY was host to a dramatic mountaintop rescue this week.
While there's no shortage of beautiful hiking trails in our corner of New York, many of them come with some serious risks. Whether it's the sheer drops of Bonticou Crag or the steep slopes of Mount Beacon, sure-footedness is key to staying out of the hospital. Luckily, when disaster strikes, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYS DEC) forest rangers are on hand.
Helicopter Rescue on Wittenberg Mountain in Ulster County, NY
Rangers described the helicopter rescue mission as "the biggest game of multitasking that you could ever imagine" after they received a call to help an injured woman on Wittenberg Mountain. With their gear packed, rangers Fox and Kreft were dropped at the peak of the mountain where they hiked down to the incapacitated hiker.
"The Look of Fear in Her Eyes is One I'll Never Forget"
Unable to walk down the mountain, the decision was made to hoist the injured party into the helicopter hovering above, a difficult maneuver considering the coverage from tall trees. "She was [understandably] nervous", said Ranger Kreft about the operation. "The look of fear in her eyes is one I'll never forget".
Video of Dramatic Ulster County, NY Helicopter Rescue
Video (below) shows exactly how quickly the patient was successfully hoisted into the helicopter. "It's a huge relief for all parties involved once you get that subject into the helicopter", said hoist operator and forest ranger Erik Stratton. "This one was a really great team effort".
Hiking Safety in New York State
While rangers are stationed throughout New York State, the best way to stay safe is to be prepared before you hike. Whether it's a reunification plan if your party loses track of one another, proper hydration to avoid cramps, or proper footwear, there are myriad ways to stop disaster before it happens. Check out more safety tips below.