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NEWS | July 9, 2024

Idaho Army National Guard Rescues Injured Hiker

By Idaho Army National Guard

BOISE, Idaho - The Idaho Army National Guard’s State Aviation Group helped Custer County Search and Rescue officials rescue an injured hiker July 6 on Thompson Peak of the Sawtooth Range outside Stanley.

The hiker, a 19-year-old man, injured an ankle when he fell while rock-climbing near the mountain range’s highest peak about 75 miles outside Boise.

“Our crew did an incredible job under some very challenging environmental conditions,” said Capt. Katherine Smith, commander of Detachment 1, Company G, 1st of the 168th Aviation Regiment. “The rescue required a great deal of crew coordination as well as teamwork with the highly proficient extraction team from the Custer County Sheriff’s Office.”

The flight crew comprised pilots Chief Warrant Officer 3 Theron Cameron and Chief Warrant Officer 3 Brennan Hoover; two crew chiefs, Sgt. Adam Brundy and hoist operator Sgt. Jessica Adamson; and one medic, Sgt. 1st Class Jared Gilstad.

The hiker was initially located on a shear rock wall under a ledge. Crew members determined there was no way to safely insert a hoist rider and extract him. The flight crew then flew to the Stanley Airport and picked up a five-person technical rope rescue team from Custer County’s search and rescue team.

“We were able to insert the team about 300 meters away from the patient using a two-wheel landing,” said Cameron, an Idaho Army National Guard UH-60 pilot.

The rescue team roped to the hiker and relocated him to more accessible recovery site, where Adamson was able to lower Gilstad onto the ground near him. Gilstad secured the patient and Adamson hoisted the pair back into the aircraft while the pilots kept the aircraft stable in challenging conditions.

“Due to the reduced power margins caused by altitude of more than 10,300 feet, the uneven terrain and the location of the extraction site, the aircrew was forced to pay extremely close attention to the aircraft limitations,” said Smith. “Lack of situational awareness in these types of situations could lead to a loss of lift or even rotor drop, requiring the aircrew to have to execute an emergency procedure to maintain stable flight.”

The flight crew flew the patient to the Stanley Airport, where he was transferred to civilian medical care.



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