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Injured Woman Rescued At North Fork American River By CHP Helicopter
On Tuesday evening, California Highway Patrol, Air Operations Helicopter, responded to a call on the North Fork of the American River for a medical rescue near the Yankee Jim Road Bridge. A 38 year old female was injured after diving off rocks into the river and apparently struck a rock with her head. Injuries to her head, neck, and back, were severe enough for friends to call 911 for medical aid. When the call came in, the decision was made to launch the CHP H20 helicopter due to the remote location of the incident. Foresthill Fire also responded to the incident.
According to CHP Air Operation officer and on-board medic Greg Norrgard, the location was too remote for a ground ambulance to come in and would have added an extra two hours on the rescue, which can cause delay medical aid which could be vital in saving a victim.
At Tuesday’s rescue, CHP pilot Dan Lewis was able to land at a nearby parking lot at the bridge where they could load the victim into the helicopter and transport her directly to Sutter Roseville for treatment. According to Officer Norrgard, there have been cases where they would have to rescue the victim with a hoist, and transport them safely hanging in a basket, then they would be transferred to another ground ambulance or even Cal Star transfer.
Tuesday night’s rescue was the second that day for the CHP H20 crew. Based out of Auburn airport, the CHP Air Ops covers 13 different counties.
Auburn CHP Air Ops Unit is unique compared to other CHP Units in the state, because it has a paramedic on-board at all times which gives victims the opportunity for immediate medical care when CHP is called out. Not only can the Auburn CHP helicopter assist in police pursuits and Search and Rescues, having a medic on board also allows them to make medical rescues.
A rescue performed by CHP like the one on Tuesday is a free service, and fees for the helicopter are paid by motor vehicle registrations through the California DMV. If it had been a rescue using CalStar, a substantial fee would apply.
The bridge is a popular spot for swimmers on the river. There is a possibility that the victim with a head injury was under the influence of alcohol during the accident.
KAHI listener, Tonya Sweat was at the bridge taking photos of her son Joshua when the rescue took place. Sweat was asked by CHP to move her vehicle so they could land. According to Sweat, it was incredible to see the precise skills the pilot had in landing the helicopter at the parking lot adjacent to the bridge.
Photos courtesy to KAHI Radio from Tonya Sweat of Auburn, Ca.