A wounded man who found himself trapped at a difficult-to-reach spot at the Table Mountain Ecological Reserve near Oroville, California kicked off an interesting rescue effort that required multiple agencies to get involved. Since the hiker was located within a cave that helicopter rescuers couldn’t reach, crews from an Enloe medical helicopter and a Butte County Sheriff’s chopper were dispatched to bring him out into the open air. Then, a California Highway Patrol helicopter arrived onto the scene to lower a rescue harness. Footage from that chopper shows the cable being lowered from hundreds of feet in the air down into the gorge. Moments later, the victim can be seen clinging to the cable as it slowly but surely pulls him to safety. He gives his rescuer a smile and nod as if to say “thanks, bud” before getting unclipped and transported to Oroville Hospital, where he was treated for a broken lower leg. By the end of the ordeal, the man appears to be in good spirits. “How ya’ doing?” one of the rescuers asks. “Much better now!” the man replies with a laugh.
A hiker who would have almost certainly died if it weren’t for the quick-thinking use of her ice ax was rescued recently from the Devil’s Backbone Trail, where she had been hiking with her brother before she slipped off the path. Jennifer Fujita, 34, was making her way down the Devil’s Backbone Trail near the Mounty Baldy Summit – 9,200 feet above sea level – when she suddenly lost her balance and slipped off the trail. She slid nearly 50 feet down before managing to sink her ice ax into the snowy ridge and cling onto it to prevent her from sliding further. That’s when her brother dialed 911 and guided air crews to their location by providing GPS coordinates. Their ordeal was not over yet, though: Fujita had found herself in an area where wind gusts of up to 45 mph made air travel difficult. Not to be deterred, San Bernardino County Fire Capt. Eric Spies was lowed out of a helicopter from 130 feet above Fujita and managed to bring her aboard the aircraft. She was released to medical personnel and is said to be in good condition. The Devil’s Backbone Trail has earned its ominous name due to a long list of deaths and rescues that have occurred in the surrounding area. Especially during this time of year, pockets of ice can make traversal difficult for even experienced hikers, who must come equipped with proper safety gear and training in order to stand a chance against the terrifying conditions.