Helicopter Rescue Briefly Becomes Carnival Ride From Hell

Screenshot: ABC 15 (Facebook)

First responders airlifted an injured 74-year-old woman off Piestewa Peak near Phoenix, Arizona on Tuesday morning. She was reportedly recovering by the afternoon, but bad luck and a little wind made what was supposed to be a gentle lift look like Air Force pilot training in the most un-fun possible way.

This clip of the Phoenix Police’s A109E helicopter carrying the patient up from the Earth in a basket on ABC 15 Arizona went lowkey viral today because, well, if you don’t want to take a look for yourself–the poor wrapped-up rescuee just spins and and spins and oh my god. It goes from kind of funny at first to seriously making your stomach turn.

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The footage freaked so many people out that the Phoenix Fire Department held a press conference to address it, which aired live on ABC 15 Arizona Tuesday afternoon.

Screenshot: ABC 15 (Facebook)

Helicopter pilot Paul Apolinar explained that that in the last six years, the hoist in the video was used “210 times” and spins like what happened today have “happened twice.”

The exceptionally unlucky woman in the basket had apparently fallen hiking and hit her head, which brought the rescuers out.

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“As dramatic as that [spinning] looks... she suffered no ill effect from that spin, other than being a little bit dizzy,” Captain Bobby Dubnow said at the press conference, adding that reports from the hospital indicated she was generally OK.

A little dizzy, man. Wow. Nobody mentioned if the woman was medically sedated before being lifted into the basket, but I mean, I have no idea how somebody could not emerge from that experience without being completely covered in their own barf.

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Maybe we’ll get more to that story if the woman comes forward or starts posting about the event herself on social media, but at least the rescue was objectively successful?

Still, I can’t imagine how sickening that ride into the sky in an impromptu centrifuge must have been. Here’s hoping all the redundant safety straps are working correctly the next time you have to get airlifted.

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Andrew P. Collins

Reviews Editor, Jalopnik | 1975 International Scout, 1984 Nissan 300ZX, 1991 Suzuki GSXR, 1998 Mitsubishi Montero, 2005 Acura TL