Dramatic helicopter rescue at Sunset Cliffs on Sunday
by SCOTT HOPKINS
Published - 08/04/17 - 12:05 PM | 0 0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Copter 2 rescues a man at Sunset Cliffs. / PHOTO BY SCOTT HOPKINS
Copter 2 rescues a man at Sunset Cliffs. / PHOTO BY SCOTT HOPKINS
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The dullness of a warm and humid Sunday afternoon along Sunset Cliffs was interrupted by numerous sirens and eventually a rescue helicopter after a beachgoer experienced difficulty breathing Sunday, July 30.

That man is now safe after a dramatic rescue from a shrinking beach as tides rose.

Original reports at 4:38 p.m. described the stricken man located at the foot of Ladera Street. However, first responders learned he was actually about 200 yards south and directly below the Point Loma Nazarene University campus.

A second call was placed for a fire truck with its increased amount of equipment.

Terrain above the man's location, with plentiful deep ravines and little level land, prompted San Diego Fire-Rescue personnel, including numerous lifeguards on the scene, to put in a call for the department's Copter 2.

Within minutes, the helicopter approached, circled the site and landed on a nearly-level patch away from the cliffs, hurling brush and sand into the air.

A plan was formulated and the rescue craft again rose into the air, hovering over the beach while lowering a cable hundreds of feet to lifeguards on the beach.

Minutes later, the stricken man, strapped into a rescue basket and accompanied by a firefighter/paramedic, became visible as they were raised up slowly to the copter, which began slowly moving out over the ocean as the pair rose towards it.

After the patient was aboard, the helicopter returned to its original landing spot below the PLNU campus where he was transferred to a waiting paramedic unit for transport to a local hospital.

A San Diego Fire-Rescue battalion chief on the scene said an evaluation of the subject by paramedics indicated a flight to the hospital was not warranted.

The battalion chief estimated a total of 25 personnel responded to the incident, which concluded in about 55 minutes. 

Based at Montgomery Field, Copter 2 is staffed at all times by one of six crew that consists of a pilot, fire captain/crew chief and a firefighter/paramedic.

The Bell 412EP helicopter has been in service since 2008 and was purchased at a cost of $15.9 million. It's four-blade rotor makes it quieter in flight, where it can be filled with 375 gallons of water in just 17 seconds from a lake or body of water using hydraulic pumps.

A second helicopter is based at Fire Station 43 located at Brown Field in the southern part of San Diego.
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