Daring Helicopter Rescue Saves Two Men

Two men were airlifted from a hillside after their Cessna crashed in the Glendora foothills

By Beverly White and Julie Brayton
|  Tuesday, Feb 1, 2011  |  Updated 7:12 AM PDT
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Two men survived the crash of their small plane, only to be trapped on a steep hillside, but thanks to the courage and skill of a helicopter rescue crew, they are hoisted to safety.

KNBC-TV

Two men survived the crash of their small plane, only to be trapped on a steep hillside, but thanks to the courage and skill of a helicopter rescue crew, they are hoisted to safety.

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An out-of-control Cessna with two people on board crash-landed in the Glendora foothills near St. Lucy’s Catholic School at about 3:30 Monday afternoon, five miles short of its destination.

No one was killed, but first responders said the victims, a student and his instructor, were stunned.

"The student told us he didn't know what happened, when suddenly the instructor took controls and was able to land plane. Pretty good landing on the side of the hill there," according to Lieutenant Tim Staab, of the Glendora Police Department.

For the crew at LA County Fire, Eastern Air Operations, this precarious rescue was just another day at the office.

"We saw a victim outside the of the aircraft waving at us, and we didn't realize it was gonna be a hoist operation. We then had to land, and get configured for a hoist operation," states Steve Christensen, of the LA County Fire Department

"We flew up to ridge line, and got aircraft configured. Because of the terrain, with the high steep angle of the sloap that the airplane was on, the only thing we could do was a hoist insertion," according to Eric Pacheco, a pilot for LA County Fire.

Both victims were airlifted to County USC Medical Center where as of Monday night they were listed in stable condition.

Observers say it’s fortunate, the men and their aircraft were relatively unscathed.

"To see an airplane intact, and to see it right side up, with it's wings still attached, on a pretty steep hillside. Pretty amazing," states Lieutenant Tim Staab, of the Glendora Police Department.

"It could easily have gone either way," states Eric Pacheco, a pilot for LA County Fire.

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