Airmen Retrieve Injured Hiker

Braving high winds and rugged terrain, an HH-60 crew with Air Force Reserve Command’s 943rd Rescue Group at Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz., helped save a badly injured hiker. Using night-vision equipment, they maneuvered their Pave Hawk helicopter within the jagged topography of the Pusch Ridge, located in Coronado National Forest, north of Tucson. They then lowered a pararescueman from Davis-Monthan’s active duty 48th Rescue Squadron to secure the stranded 23-year-old woman, who had lain for almost five hours with back injuries and a broken leg. After safely bringing her aboard the helicopter, these airmen transported her to a nearby hospital during the Dec. 23 rescue. Civilian helicopter crews had to abort earlier rescue attempts due to the winds and terrain’s steepness. “An Air Force rescue helicopter and night-vision-goggle-equipped crew made all the difference,” said Col. Harold Maxwell, the group’s commander. (Davis-Monthan report by Capt. Cathleen Snow)