Officials confirm tagline broke during wild Phoenix mountain rescue

Dramatic Phoenix rescue prompts questions

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - A rescue in Phoenix went a little awry when a woman in her 70s was being hoisted into a helicopter started spinning wildly. The video quickly gained national attention.

The Southern Arizona Rescue Association (SARA) said the spinning can happen and is not all that uncommon. Rescuers have a tagline that is held on the ground and attached to the patient being hoisted up. This prevents spinning, but it can also be released if there is a need.

"It looked like they might have had a tagline on it, but maybe it broke," said Scott Clemans, with SARA.

The Phoenix Fire Department said the taglines did break and caused the spinning. They said they do about 200 similar rescues a year, and similar incidents have happened twice before.

However, the Stokes basket carrying patients is made of titanium, and built to withstand winds and weight. Multiple straps cover the patient to keep them in place, and a Bauman bag goes around the patient and basket, and is attached.

“You’re not going to go anywhere,” said Clemans. “Especially if the Stokes spins a little bit, or a lot.”

Rescue officials said using the helicopter was the best way to rescue the patient because of her age, the terrain and other conditions. There are no updates on the patient’s status at this time, but PFD said the patient was nauseous and dizzy when she was taken to the hospital.

Copyright 2019 KOLD News 13. All rights reserved.