California Police Officer Struck With Helicopter Blades During Hiker Rescue

A California Highway Patrol (CHP) officer suffered life threatening injuries after being struck by helicopter rotor blades. The helicopter landed on a granite rock next to a very steep embankment and Officer Tony Stanley was struck by the helicopter blades as he climbed up the ravine to rescue an injured hiker, The New York Daily News reports. The hiker had dislocated an ankle and broken a leg while traversing rugged terrain in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest in the northern region of California, Fox News reports.

“It was a very remote area with basically sheer cliffs, granite and treacherous terrain. He (Stanley) lives for this kind of stuff, He’s a very tenacious and spirited officer, who had done this many times. This is what he loves to do,” CHP Lt. Scott Frederick told the Associated Press.

Although CHP is not releasing the exact details of the heroic officer’s injuries due to privacy laws, the law enforcement agency did note that Stanley suffered “life threatening” injuries as a result of the helicopter accident and is currently in “critical” condition.

Officer Tony Stanley is a 10-year CHP veteran who is also a flight officer/paramedic. Stanley is 40-years-old. CHP officials stated during a Monday press conference that Stanley was “lucky to be alive.” Jeremy Kilburn, the rescued hiker, is recovering well thanks to Stanley’s efforts. Kilburn is an Air Force major who served as a trauma surgeon in Afghanistan. A group of fellow hikers also helped Kilburn reach the helicopter pick-up area since he was unable to walk. An odd twist of fate during the hiker rescue was credited in helping to save Stanley’s life. The injured trauma doctor helped apply pressure to the officer’s bleeding wounds and held IV bags during the 41-mile helicopter flight to Redding Hospital.

According to Associated Press excerpts published by The New York Daily News the accident which caused Officer Stanley’s injuries is the latest of “several” incidents during rescues in mountainous areas in the western United States. A memorial for Utah Highway Patrol officer Aaron R. Beesley, 34. who died during a rescue accident on June 30 is planned for Sunday. The officer fell from a 90-foot cliff while attempting to rescue two teenage hikers. A Mount Rainier climbing ranger Nick Hall, 33, died in Washington during a 2,400-foot fall in June while rescuing four climbers in Waco, Texas.

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