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[at-l] Helicopter rescue question (was Cell phones and safety (realistically))

This begs a general question related to helicopter rescue...

At what point does a rescue warrant a helicopter?  I know there are quite a 
number of factors to consider such as number of people available to perform 
the rescue, how long it would take to get them to the accident site, the 
terrain, how far 'in', whether or not there is a military group in the area 
in need of some "training" exercises, and even the rescuees ability to pay 
(true in some parts of the world), etc.

I once helped with a rescue off Mt. Monadnock.  There were 22 of us 
available to help carry a litter down with a woman who hurt her ankle.  We 
ended up carrying her down ~1.8 miles or so.  We took only two short breaks 
the entire time and probably kept the litter moving about 1 MPH - either 
walking it along the easier sections or passing it down the line, conveyor 
belt style, in the rough and steep sections.

There was never any consideration of a helicopter and I suspect the only 
time a helicopter would be called into Monadnock St. Pk. would be if there 
was an immediately life threatening issue - if at all.  The furthest from a 
road you can get in the park is probably 3-3.5 miles.

So anyway, at what point are helicopters used for rescue?

I'm sure some of you have some professional or amateur experience with SAR 
and could offer some insight.


Mara - who had to walk her own sore elbow down into Irwin, TN  :-)
Stitches, GAME99

>From: Phil Heffington <phil.heffington@oc.edu>
>My first hike of several days left a
>member of our group with a broken ankle, fourteen miles from the nearest
>trailhead.  The cell phone wouldn't reach out from the spot and it took us
>24 hours to get her out.  By the way, we had to carry her over a mile to 
>to a spot where the helicopter could land - no hoist after all.
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