Injured Phoenix hiker’s helicopter rescue video spins out of control on Twitter

phoenix woman helicopter rescue video fox 10

On Tuesday, the rescue of an elderly woman who injured herself hiking in Phoenix, Arizona went viral on Twitter, but probably not for the heart-warming reason you’re imagining.

While the rescue was a success, there was one element that made Twitter (and probably the woman) slightly queasy.

Performed by helicopter, the woman was suspended below the craft within a basket attached by a tether. Usually during these rescues, the patient doesn’t spin. But that wasn’t the case this time around.

In a clip posted by FOX 10 Phoenix, the basket spins like a top. (Or fidget spinner depending on your generation.) She gradually gains momentum, and once the helicopter departs the scene, she could probably keep the helicopter aloft should the rotors fail.

Fuelled by centrifugal force, the video has now been viewed over 16-million times on Twitter, while the tweet itself received more than 120 000 likes.

Oh and yes, Twitter did bring up the helicopter’s novel human rotor attachment with a further 8500 comments.

This classic appeared too.

The videos even more entertaining — or nausea-inducing — sped up.

According to FOX 10’s report, none of the firefighters were injured in the rescue (because that’s obviously what everyone wanted to know).

As for the reason why the woman became a living aerodynamic device?

“Sometimes, when we bring the helicopter up from the ground, it will start to spin. We have a line attached to the basket to help prevent that. Today, it didn’t,” a Phoenix Police Department pilot told FOX 10.

“It’s something that’s a known phenomenon in the hoist rescue industry, so we train for it. We did a couple of procedures to stop it, mitigate it, and be able to eventually get her into the basket.”

The patient was fine though. She did suffer from “a bit of nausea and dizziness” but she survived her ordeal. And now, GIFs of her rescue will live on in internet folklore.

Feature image: screenshot, FOX 10 Phoenix (@FOX10Phoenix) via Twitter

Andy Walker, former editor


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