|Soldiers rescued by police|
|Written by APB Staff|
On Sunday February 20, 2011 at approximately 0005 hours the New York City Police Department's Aviation Unit was requested to assist in the rescue of two United States Military Academy Cadets at West Point who became stranded on a cliff during a training exercise. The details are as follows.
During the evening of Saturday February 19, 2011 two USMA cadets became disorientated and separated from their squad during a training exercise and became stranded on a cliff. A search was conducted by USMA Military Personnel and local emergency responders. The stranded cadets were located by a New York State Police helicopter; the terrain the cadets were stranded on was extreme and did not provide any suitable landing areas. Attempts to reach the area by ground rescue personnel were unsuccessful due to darkness and the challenging terrain.
At approximately 0005 hours on Sunday, February 20, 2011 the NYPD's Aviation Unit was requested for Air Support with hoist capabilities. Emergency Service Unit provided two Tactical Medics to join the rescue operation.
Aviation #14, a Bell 412 Air-Sea-Rescue helicopter departed Floyd Bennett Field, and arrived at 0210 hours, whereupon an extensive search was conducted to reacquire the cadets who had earlier been spotted by the NYSP observation helicopter.
After an extensive search utilizing Forward Looking Infrared (FLIR) and Night Vision devices, the cadets were located high atop Storm King Mountain, tied off on a ledge obstructed by rock outcroppings and trees along a high rock formation.
Despite the dangers of extremely high turbulent winds and precision hovering close to the steep rising terrain, the aircrew of Aviation #14 steadied the helicopter in a high hover using all available power. One of the ESU Tactical Medics was lowered to a ledge using the "Horse Collar" rescue harness.
Both cadets were found suffering from hypothermia due to exposure to sub freezing temperatures and extremely high winds.
The ESU Tactical Medic, Detective Christopher Condon, stabilized the first victim and secured him to the "Horse Collar" rescue harness, whereupon he was safely hoisted aboard Aviation #14 hovering overhead. The aircrew, battling the turbulence and extreme winds as well as the high power demand, were unable to hoist the second victim and departed to the landing zone set up on a parade field on the West Point main post, leaving Detective Condon and the remaining cadet alone on Storm King Mountain.
Aviation #14 returned moments later and again took up high hover close to the rock formations and rising terrain in complete darkness and hoisted the remaining victim, and finally Detective Condon, from the narrow ledge, relocating to the landing zone.
The rescue mission was complete at approximately 0255 hours. Upon landing the victims were transferred to a waiting ambulance and transported to Keller Army Medical Center on West Point.