28 December 2022- A Maryland State Police Aviation Command helicopter crew assisted with the rescue of an injured hiker from a remote portion of Maryland Heights, above the Potomac River Tuesday afternoon.
Shortly before 3:45 p.m. on Tuesday, Washington County fire, rescue and emergency medical personnel were summoned to the popular overlook, across the river from historic Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, after a hiker became injured and stranded in sub-freezing temperatures.
Upon arrival, Potomac Valley Fire Company personnel determined it would too difficult to extract the 35-year-old woman from the side of the mountain due to remote and dangerous terrain, compounded with inaccessibility via all-terrain vehicles. A subsequent request for an aerial extraction resulted in the dispatching of Trooper 2 – MSPAC Washington Section, located at Joint Base Andrews.
Once overhead, the crew from Trooper 2 inserted a Trooper/Flight Paramedic on to the southwestern portion of Maryland Heights, using the Agusta AW-139 helicopter’s hoist to lower him to rescuers below. After conducting an assessment of the hiker’s injuries, the Trooper/Flight Paramedic secured the hiker in a Bauman “Screamer Suit” harness for extrication from the side of the mountain. The hiker was hoisted approximately 100 feet into the helicopter, at which time Trooper 2 transitioned to a medevac role and flew the patient to Meritus Medical Center in Hagerstown, Maryland for evaluation and treatment.
The Maryland State Police Aviation Command staffs each helicopter with two pilots and two state trooper/medical clinicians. The MSPAC has served Maryland citizens since 1970 and operates a fleet of 10 AW-139 helicopters from seven bases throughout the State. Each aircraft provides coverage 24/7/365 to Maryland residents and visitors. The MSPAC missions include medevac, law enforcement, search and rescue, homeland security, and disaster assessment. The success of the aerial rescues and all missions performed by the MSPAC depends greatly on proficiency training and the cooperative partnerships with allied law enforcement, fire department, EMS agencies, the United States Coast Guard and the United States Park Police.