|Submitted by Tom Evans on Tue, 05/27/2014 - 03:38|
ElCap Report 5/23/14 Rescue Edition.
By Tom Evans
Yo... Nice weather these days but the cliff doesn't reflect the great conditions. Perhaps the big holiday weekend is keeping them away. Yosemite Search and Rescue had their annual May helicopter training day on the 21st of the month. All the rangers qualified to get a ride on the bottom of a very long rope, suspended from the chopper, got to practice taking flight and landing on the side of the East Buttress of the Cap. The weather was not great that day but they pushed through it with Richard Shatto doing the precision flying.
Well just two days later, Tobias Wolf and his partner Thomas, were rappelling near the area of the practice when a rock fell, without warning, from above and hit Tobias in the left knee. YOSAR was quickly dispatched to the scene with Fire chopper 551, flown by Richard Shatto again. It was the same flight as was practiced just two days before and it went quickly. Below are some shots I got as I arrived a bit late for the first part of the flight.
1) Chopper 551 coming in for a landing after checking the conditions with a ground team, which was on scene of the accident.
2) YOSAR ground crew brought some needed equipment to the chopper.
3) The chopper went out to the site of the accident, on cliffs just below the East Buttress route. Tobias told me later that he felt that someone had accidently released the rock, from high above. Here the chopper is returning with ranger Phil Johnson on the litter containing Tobias.
4) Close up shot of Phil Johnson riding the rope.
5) 551 was soon in the landing pattern over the ElCap meadow.
6) Soon Phil and Tobias were nearing the ground, where a crew was ready to carry Tobias to the ambulance.
7) The waiting crew and Phil soon had Tobias on the ground.
8) Walking the short distance to the waiting ambulance.
9) Paramedics were ready and waiting to take Tobias to the local Clinic.
10) Ready to load. The medical staff wanted to cut off Tobias's nice yellow climbing pants but he refused, as they are quite expensive!
11) Ranger Johnson talking with the commander on scene, Ranger Matt Stark, while Tobias is put in the ambulance. Turned out that while Tobias had a badly bruised leg and was unable to walk unassisted for a couple of days afterward, he is now taking some rest and is getting better by the day.
12) With Richard Shatto at the controls, 551 heads back to base as the evening twilight comes on. This rescue was done efficiently and quickly and the crew was back home in time for supper. Thanks YOASR!!!
So that's the way it went and that is the way it was... on May 23, 2014, Just another day at work!
Later, Capt. Tom