Story by Staff Sgt. Roberto Di Giovine and Capt. Brian Hare
PICKENS COUNTY, SOUTH CAROLINA – Members of the South Carolina Helicopter Aquatic Recue Team (SC-HART) responded to a call to rescue a hiker stranded on a mountain ledge at Table Rock State Park Jan. 5, 2017.
The hiker was airlifted from the mountain at around 9:25 a.m. after reportedly being stranded for several hours after suffering a fall of approximately 70 feet. The request for assistance came from the Pickens County emergency management authorities.
According to crew reports, the request for support from SC-HART was initiated when rescuers on site realized that use of a helicopter was going to be the most effective means of reaching and extracting the hiker.
“It was key to use a helicopter to rescue the hiker. Due to difficult conditions, the rescuers on the ground couldn’t reach him,” said Chief Warrant Officer 4 Tripp Hutto, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion, 151st Aviation Regiment UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter pilot. “We could see from the air, it looked like the closest they could get to him was about 80 feet.”
After the call for support was received through State Emergency Management channels, both the civilian and military components of the SC-HART rescuers were simultaneously activated.
The South Carolina Army National Guard UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter and crew deployed from McEntire Joint National Guard Base in Eastover. They picked up a team of rescuers from Pickens County at the South Carolina National Guard’s Army Aviation Support Facility 2 in Greenville, prior to moving to Table Rock to conduct the rescue.
Following extraction, the SC-HART helicopter landed near a pre-positioned ambulance on site, where the hiker was released to Pickens County Emergency Medical Support personnel.
“The rescue went smoothly and was conducted without incident,” said Hutto. “The SC-HART team works well together due to partnerships developed through past training and real world events, including the statewide flooding in 2015. This allowed for a seamless rescue.”