Skillful Helicopter Pilot Dramatic Rescue in the Alps
Skilful helicopter pilot hovers with the aircraft’s rotor blades inches from a snow-covered mountainside during dramatic rescue in the Alps
A pilot partially landed on a steep mountainside in the French Alps with the aircraft’s nose and rotors just inches from the snow during a dramatic rescue of an injured skier.
The skilful rescue took place during a ski touring excursion at the Anterne pass, in the Giffre massif mountain range in the Haute-Savoie region of the Alps in eastern France.
A French police helicopter was scrambled to rescue the skier during the trip in the area which is popular with British skiers and snowboarders.
The group of experienced skiers were at the Anterne Pass at 7,400ft when one of them injured his knee. The guide called for help on the side of the steep mountain.
Video footage captured the moment the helicopter landed on the steep mountainside to rescue the injured man on January 2.
As the helicopter came into land a fellow mountaineer can be seen waving towards the helicopter as the stricken 19-year-old man, named Bruno, lay on the floor.
Snow was sent flying around as the pilot partially made contact with the mountain to avoid the blades hitting the mountain.
The pilot of the chopper could be seen inching the aircraft close to the off-piste slope with the front of the skids barely above the snow.
The pilot managed to hold the vehicle in place so that the right-hand landing skid remained in contact with the mountainside.
This enabled a rescue team to climb out of the helicopter and get to Bruno, who had injured his knee during a conversion or climb.
Once deployed in the site the medical team strapped up Bruno’s leg with a large padded brace.
The helicopter then returned to make the same dramatic manoeuvre, resting against the mountainside in order to load the rescuers on board.
This time it came in even closer with the nose and rotors inches from disaster.
Bruno, along with a mountain gendarme officer, was then winched in the air and carried off to safety and he dangled from the helicopter.
He was taken by a medical team from the PGHM High Mountain Mounted Police Platoon (Peloton de Gendarmerie de Montagne) to hospital.
A doctor from the nearby Chamonix hospital was also part of the team and accompanied the patient to hospital.
The three videos of the rescue were filmed by Nicolas Derely and shared on Skipass.com.
He said in the online post: ‘Nothing exceptional in these images, in the sense that it is the daily life of these people who intervene several times a day throughout the winter.
‘We only wanted to share them because it is still impressive, and allows us to realise how lucky we are to have these guardian angels allowing us all to enjoy the mountain, in all seasons. We also wish a good convalescence to Bruno.’
Nicolas could be heard saying in the final clip: ‘Extraordinaire!’ as the helicopter flies off.
The 60-year-old, who lives nearby the scene, said: ‘He is a very good pilot, he knew there were a lot of winds, so he made an approach below.
‘I was myself a fighter pilot in the French Air Force, so I was aware of the risks and his mastery.’
Bruno is understood to have damaged his anterior knee ligament and dislocated his knee cap. He is expected to make a full recovery but will be on crutches for a few weeks.
In July a CH-47 Chinook helicopter was used to carry out a similar dramatic rescue of a suicidal man from Mount Hood – Oregon’s tallest mountain.
Footage also showed the CH-47 Chinook at an altitude of about 11,000 feet, hovering in the air above Mount Hood, before slowly descending to where the climbers and the rescue team are waiting for its arrival.
On its way down, the pilot spins the helicopter around, performing a ‘pinnacle manoeuvre’, landing just the Chinook’s two rear wheels on the mountain so that there’s easy access to the cargo bay.
The rescue was said to have taken just 32 minutes and four seconds from the time the helicopter departed and returned to the baseball field.