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Video shows Utah DPS helicopter hoisting stranded backcountry skier to safety

Posted at 8:50 PM, Jan 30, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-30 23:25:11-05

LITTLE COTTONWOOD CANYON, Utah — As the sun set on the Wasatch Mountains Saturday night, the Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue team was called out for a stranded backcountry skier in a popular area known as "The Needle" or "The Hypodermic Needle" on the east side of Thunder Mountain.

“Due to the remote location of the skier, the conditions, and rapidly losing daylight, it was decided that a helicopter extraction would be the most viable rescue option,” SLCO SAR said in a social media post.

The Utah Department of Public Safety Aero Bureau’s Star-9 helicopter was dispatched to perform a hoist operation of the skier. The team of three (pilot, hoist operator and tactical flight officer) battled waning sunlight but were able to lower a rescuer (the tactical flight officer) near the stranded skier.

After roughly 45 minutes and as the sun began to set, the rescue team successfully extracted the skier from the area.

According to SLCO SAR, the skier had been backcountry touring alone but was able to make a distress call with his cell phone. It’s unknown what type of equipment or gear he was equipped with. Search and Rescue reported the skier was experiencing symptoms of hypothermia.