AUBURN, Calif. (KTXL) – Within two days, a California Highway Patrol division in Auburn made two helicopter rescues.
CHP flight officer and paramedic Jared Boothe described how a helicopter crew hoisted a swimmer to safety along the south fork of the American River Monday.
“The patient was suffering from multiple medical conditions,” he told FOX40. “So H-20 was able to come in, insert a rescue device that the rescue swimmers from El Dorado County Fire placed the victim into, and we extracted him from the area and transferred over to a medical helicopter,”
The helicopter known as H-20 is headquartered at the CHP Valley Division Air Operations base in Auburn.
“So on the back wall, we have all of the emergency medical supplies that a typical 911 ambulance within the region would have,” Boothe explained.
The Monday hoist rescue would be the first of two throughout the week for the H-20 crew.
Tuesday afternoon they helped rescue an injured hiker near Kyburz.
“The victim fell approximately 100 feet down a fairly steep rock face,” Boothe said.
This is just the beginning of the busiest time of year for area rescuers.
“As temperatures start to warm up, snow is melting, rivers are rising. We’re starting to see more and more people recreate around the rivers,” Boothe told FOX40.
At the American River confluence in Auburn, illuminated signs are already warning about the dangers and life jackets are available.
“Frequently, moving rivers are faster and more unpredictable than you think. And they can change from year to year,” Boothe explained.
Boothe advises everyone to stay away from fast-moving rivers, wear safety equipment, stay sober and not jump off of high objects.
“We have people that will jump off of various trees and cliff ledges. And obviously recreating in the backcountry is a lot of fun but then you end up in a remote area with some very serious injuries. And it’s very difficult for people to make access to you,” he said.
While snowmelt and rapid waters are worthy of attention right now, Boothe says there is still plenty of snow blanketing the high Sierra.
In recent weeks, the H-20 has rescued a number of backcountry skiers and snowboarders.
On Monday, the El Corado County Sheriff’s Office rescued a family whose car got stuck in the snow along Mormon Immigrant Trail.
“When people venture into the backcountry, make sure you have a way to communicate and know where you’re going. And it’s always nice to let someone know where you’re going before you get there, and when you expect to be back,” Boothe said.