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Search & Rescue

Helicopter Rescue on Devils Backbone Trail of Mount Baldy

January 18, 2017

MOUNT BALDY, Calif – On Monday, January 16, Jennifer Fujita (age 34 of Irvine) and her brother were hiking down the Devil’s Backbone Trail near the Mount Baldy Summit at the 9200 foot level. While hiking down, she lost her footing and slid down the snow covered ridge approximately 50 feet. Jennifer managed to use her ice ax to prevent her from falling further down the steep rocky ridge. Her brother immediately called 911 and requested assistance.

Sheriff’s patrol helicopter 40King4 was dispatched to the location to attempt to locate the Jennifer and her brother. Due to the circumstances and elevation, the crew of 40King4 requested the assistance of Air Rescue 307, which was staffed with Sheriff and Fire personnel, to also respond and conduct a hoist rescue. The Jennifer’s brother provided vital information including their GPS location and clothing descriptions. The crew of 40King4 located Jennifer and her brother and relayed that information to Air Rescue 307. Jennifer was located on a steep snow packed ridge.

Sheriff’s Air Rescue 307 responded to that location and began assessing the situation. It was determined Jennifer was in a high-risk area, which would require a technical pick off hoist rescue. The helicopter hovered over Jennifer while battling high winds with gusts up to 45 mph. A Fire Captain was lowered down on the hoist to Jennifer 130 feet. There she was contacted while the Fire Captain remained on the hook. He immediately disconnected her backpack, which fell hundreds of feet down the rocky slope. Jennifer was then placed into a “Hasty Rescue Harness” and secured the victim to himself on the hook. Both were then hoisted together up to and inside the helicopter. The victim was then flown to Cow Canyon Saddle and released to awaiting medical personnel.

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