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  1. #1
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    Default Helicopter Rescue?

    Any news on a helicopter air lift In GSMNP today? Stop by the visitors center after a hike today and while we were there traffic was stopped while a helicopter landed in the field to meet ambulance.

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    After our hike today we left the dam around 12. We passed an accident a few miles up the road. I don't know if that had anything to do with it at all? .... That lakeshore trail is awesome! When we hit the paved road before the dam I counted 19 hikers between there and the dam.

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    I don't see how that could have anything to do with it... if someone needed to be airlifted due to an accident near Fontana Dam, there is plenty of room around the dam to land a helicopter. You wouldn't transport them for over an hour just to reach the Oconaluftee Visitor center to air lift them somewhere else.

    However, playing the odds, my first guess should be the victim of a car accident. I seem to recall seeing some statistics on GSMNP and car accidents are the leading cause of death in the park.

    But I still wondered if it was a hiker that had gotten seriously injured.

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    I should have asked which visitor center the helicopter landed at...

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    motor vehicle accident.........on blue ridge parkway...........

    airlifted to a hospital in asheville..........

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by TNhiker View Post
    motor vehicle accident.........on blue ridge parkway...........

    airlifted to a hospital in asheville..........
    As I suspected. .. and I figured you know something. Thanks for the info.


    Now can someone explain why all traffic had to stop while the helicopter landed in the middle of a huge field? If the answer is simply an over abundance of caution then why did the have the ambulance with the victim in the middle of the field and then have the helicopter land 20 feet away (only a slight exaggeration). Seems that if traffic needed to be stopped for safety they would have kept the ambulance at the edge of the field until after the helicopter landed. After all they did not appear to be in a big rush (for example they waited until the rotors completely wound down before attempting to move the victim from the ambulance).

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    i called the PIO right before i posted to find out....


    its about safety when it comes to helicopters.......

    ive been on maybe 30 to 50 helicopter landings, and its always been rotors wound down before any movement.............either from flight crew or ground crew............

    it works two ways-----for the safety of the turning rotors and what ever "splash" the rotors put off........

    they don't want someone to accidentally get themselves chopped up by the rotors (it happened with a single engine plane a few years ago at one of our local airports) and they dont want someone to complain about getting a pebble through their windshield.............


    and then there's the other side of the coin------so traffic may be held up for ten or 15 minutes------but, think about the person on board the helicopter.........these type of helicopters arent scenic tours...........

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    Almost all patients from motor vehicle crashes in GSMNP are transported by helicopter. This is just because transportation by ground ambulance is so lengthy.

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    I work on military helicopters, rotor wash can be a big deal the helicopters can put out some major wind that can and will pick things up and move them a good distance, civilian operations may have rules that they have to follow about being shutdown (rotor not moving). Safety is always first. Second is companies don't want to get sued.....

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    This mornings National Parks Report for GSMMNP had a day hiker hurt at Ramsey's Cascade. Fifty foot fall off a rock ledge. Not sure, but after reading this thread last night, I thought that was probably what the Copter was for this morning. Hard to Say though, would think Ramsey's Cascade sidw would allow a copter to land at the Golf Course or at the High School on 321. Who knows, maybe in the park all goes to the Visitors Center. Just passing on a possibility.
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  11. #11
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    I hadn't thought about just how far rotor wash could throw things and I certainly can understand letting the rotors wind down... it just seemed out of place that they would take that much precaution yet land the chopper so close to the ambulance. Would make more selse if they had left the ambulance near the edge of the field and then drove it to the helicopter after it landed.
    Last edited by HooKooDooKu; 04-13-2015 at 21:08.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gbolt View Post
    This mornings National Parks Report for GSMMNP had a day hiker hurt at Ramsey's Cascade. Fifty foot fall off a rock ledge. Not sure, but after reading this thread last night, I thought that was probably what the Copter was for this morning. Hard to Say though, would think Ramsey's Cascade sidw would allow a copter to land at the Golf Course or at the High School on 321. Who knows, maybe in the park all goes to the Visitors Center. Just passing on a possibility.



    two separate incidents.......

    i called pio and she read the morning report about the helicopter...

    the person at ramsey cascades was brought out on the trail via a litter team.........and i think ambulance met them at trailhead.........


    this week has had a bunch of incidents for the Park Service...

    one hiker last week who got lost (or actually overdue) and came out the wrong trailhead via spending a night out on trail..............the father and son rescue from the AT.................the ramsay cascades fall incident..............this motor vehicle accident..............and they had a staffer (maybe volunteer) who had a heart attack in cabin in cades cove.............

    or, basically, another week in the park................

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    correction-----the ramsay cascades incident was met by ambulance at trailhead then taken to a landing zone for helicopter pickup................on the TN side of the park.........and the NC one was on the blue ridge parkway.............

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