OGDEN -- A woman was hoisted out of Waterfall Canyon by a helicopter Saturday afternoon and carried to safety while hanging in the wind.
The 30-year-old woman was hiking down the canyon on with friends when she slipped and possibly broke her ankle, said Ogden Fire Capt. Dennis Gay. Her friends called for help about 3:15 p.m.
As the woman, who was not immediately identified, was about half a mile up the canyon "as the crow flies," the emergency responders coming to her rescue thought it would be better if a helicopter helped her out of the canyon rather than carry her down, Gay said.
The responders found her and stayed with her until a Life Flight helicopter arrived. A nurse from the helicopter was lowered into the canyon to strap in the victim and the two were hoisted into the air.
Rather than crowd inside the helicopter, the woman and the nurse rode on the right side in the hoist for a mile-long, soaring trip to Mount Ogden Park.
About 5 p.m., the pilot touched down at the north end of the park where an ambulance crew was waiting. The crew rushed to the woman, put her on a stretcher and drove her to McKay-Dee Hospital.
It was a quiet afternoon at the park and the helicopter landing had only a handful of onlookers.
Gay said there are a few of these kinds of rescues each year.
Not every medical helicopter has a hoist and would have to land to load the patient. But the one usually stationed at McKay-Dee Hospital does have a hoist, so crews use it when they can, he said.
Even though she was already up in the air, the plan was to transfer her to an ambulance as soon as they could instead of flying her all the way to McKay-Dee Hospital, he said.
"It's a high-risk ride. It's cold up there, it's windy up there, so many things that can go wrong," making it important to limit the time spent in the air, Gay said.
A stiff breeze was blowing by the time the helicopter was in the air, and winds would later pick up to about 20 miles per hour. Still, even the stronger wind was nothing the helicopter crew would not have been able to handle, Gay said.