Arizona hiker spins wildly beneath helicopter in mountain rescue

A 74-year-old woman who was injured while hiking Arizona’s Piestewa Peak Tuesday afternoon was lifted from the mountain by helicopter, during which the basket she was in began spinning out of control.

Video of the rescue — and the woman’s wild ride — was captured by several local television news helicopter cameras.

Phoenix Fire Department Capt. Kenny Overton told The Arizona Republic that the woman suffered a cut to her face, wrist and hip injuries and possibly a broken nose while hiking the peak, near 24th Street and Lincoln Drive.

However, there were “no complications” as a result of the rescue stretcher spinning as it dangled from the helicopter.

Overton said the spinning was caused by a combination of wind from the helicopter’s propellers, the ground below and the centrifugal force of the helicopter.

In addition, a line used during the rescue did not operate as it should have, he said.

Overton said rescues in which something like this happens are considered rare, but crews at the fire department train for events like this.

“In this case, we were still able to successfully complete the hoist and get the patient to the hospital in stable condition,” Overton said.

No firefighters were injured in the rescue effort, fire officials said.

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