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Raw Footage: Short Haul Rescue of Injured Man from Maine Mountain

When a 62-year-old hiker was injured by a falling boulder two-thirds of the way up Maine’s Mount Katahdin, rangers at Baxter State Park considered sending a rescue team to carry him down the trail in a litter. That carry could last up to 18 hours, depending on the number of volunteers it could muster and weather conditions that included an approaching heavy rain.

There was nowhere at the site to land a rescue helicopter; but rangers had recently developed short haul rescue capabilities in which they would lower a rescuer on a line from a helicopter, strap the man into a harness,  then fly with rescuer and patient dangling below helicopter to the nearest landing site.

Monday’s successful rescue attempt was the Forest Service’s first with the new system, which was deployed earlier this year.