This is the most spectacular thing I have ever caught on video. A hiker was stricken by (presumably) a stroke and was rescued by the LA County Sheriff’s helicopter.
It was the usual Saturday hike. We start at the top of Lake Ave. and climb Echo Mountain to the ruins of the Lowes Hotel. It was foggy and overcast- the trip up was merry and uneventful.
The Echo Mountain hike is really nice. The trail is meticulously groomed by Mark Gage and there is a pleasant mix of moderate rises and flat places. All in all, it is not a strenuous hike and the views are some of the best in the area.
We always take sometime to enjoy the view at the top. We can see all of Altadena, Pasadena, bits of Glendale and a large bit of the Los Angeles Basin. On a clear day we can see the ocean and the Palisades. Sometimes we will walk around the ruins of Lowe’s Grand Hotel or maybe shout into the megaphone that will echo your voice throughout the canyon. But, today the clouds were very thick and we quickly decided to turn around and head back down.
A quarter mile or so down the trail we heard a helicopter and it seemed rather close. Could cover can do tricky things with sound and we decided that no copter would fly close in this weather. There was zero visibility and there are major electrical lines everywhere. The further we hiked, though, the louder the sound and we peered, in vain, trying to see through the clouds to where a helicopter surely must be.
We were now about a quarter mile past the 2 mile marker when a harried woman saw us pointing through the clouds and stopped. She said a hiker had fallen at the 1 mile marker- she thinks he had a stroke. She had called 911 and stayed with him until the paramedics came- she said the hiker could not move his left hand and he was “white as a ghost”.
This explains the helicopter.
We trotted down the trail and after a while the cloud cover thinned and we could see the LA County Sheriff’s Rescue Helicopter hovering and moving a little bit back and forth. We were surprised to be just a little bit above the helicopter, so I broke into a run and rounded the bend nearly level with the Helicopter’s open door. The video I captured was just as the rescue team was pulling the stricken hiker into the ship.
Later, back at the bottom of the trail, we had a chance to talk to the fire fighters who had been called to the scene. He told me the victim was at the hospital, but he didn’t know his condition. He was a bit disappointed because they were just 50 yards away when the helicopter made the rescue.
All I know is that I am intensely grateful that these types of services are available. Thank You LA County Sherriff and Fire Fighters!