David Vanbuskirk, a Las Vegas police officer was killed while attempting to rescue a stranded hiker.
The Huffington Post reported that Vanbuskirk was rescuing a hiker stranded in an off-limits area of a mountain northwest of the city and was killed after falling from a helicopter hoist line Monday night.
“Rescuers responded shortly before 9 p.m. to reports that a hiker was disoriented and stranded on a rocky ledge just above Mary Jane Falls.”
Jay Nichols, spokesman for Spring Mountains National Recreation Area sad that the area was marked with signs warning hikers to stay out of off-limits areas or face fines.
Fox News reported that after landing, Vanbuskirk attached a safety harness to the stranded man, who was hiking alone.
Officials said that Vanbuskirk signaled to the four rescue workers in the helicopter above to hoist them both up from the craggy ledge, but then somehow detached from the line in midair and fell a “non-survivable” distance to the ground below
Even though Vanbuskirk somehow detached from the line, the hiker was safely rescuded, and according to Fox News, is now being questioned by police.
Reports say that David Vanbuskirk grew up in the Las Vegas area, and had worked for the department since 1999. He had served on the search and rescue team since 2007.
Clark County Sheriff Doug Gillespie said Vanbuskirk had performed “dozens” of rescues like the one that killed him Monday.
The Huffington Post stated that the officers have not lost one of their own in the line of duty since 2009.
US Senator Dean Heller of Nevada tweeted about the event:
Saddened to learn @LVMPD and Nevada lost a hero. Thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of officer David Vanbuskirk.
— Dean Heller (@SenDeanHeller) July 23, 2013
Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval said Vanbuskirk’s death was “a tragic reminder of the dangers our first responders are exposed to on a daily basis.”
Sandoval said in a statement, “His service to his community, state, and country will not be forgotten.”
David Vanbuskirk will be remembered and missed by all those close to him.
[Image via VG]