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Arizona & Phoenix Local News
Piestewa Peak Rescue Ends Badly for Injured Hiker
June 14, 2019
Helicopter in the middle of dessert

Kati Metro, a 74-year-old hiker, was rescued after getting injured at the Piestewa Peak trail. Upon reevaluating the circumstances of the terrain and the temperature, firefighters decided to extract the injured woman in a helicopter basket. During the process, turbulence from the helicopter motor caused the stretcher, which Kati was in, to spin uncontrollably. The video of the injured woman went viral after what seemed a long and uncomfortable ride for the experienced climber.

The Piestewa Peak at the Phoenix Mountains Preserve has hiking trails, which are frequented by nature lovers. Kati Metro, a 74-year-old woman who enjoys trekking, visited the peak along with many other outdoor enthusiasts. The sunny morning at the trail ended dreadfully for Kati — during her walk she slipped and hit the slopes of the 2,612-foot mountain.

The woman felt disoriented and unable to walk, according to Phoenix Fire Captain, Bobby Dubnow. The department received a call in the early morning from a woman saying that an injured climber needed rescue. After assessing the injuries of the climber, her location and the high temperature, the team decided to hoist Kati Metro in a helicopter basket.

What seemed as a routine extraction turned into a nightmare for the elderly lady. The stretcher which Kati was in began to spin uncontrollably. By the testimonies of the horrified onlookers, the woman’s stretcher was rotating around 150 spins a minute. Paul Apolinar, the chief pilot for Phoenix police, explained that the stretcher rotation is not uncommon, but that it happens twice in 200 rescues.

According to him, the rescue team used a standard procedure of applying the supporting line, which prevents the basket from spinning during a hoist. However, in Kati’s case, it did not stop, at which point the rescuers decided to lower the helicopter. The operation ended well, while terrified Kati still felt the aftermath of spinning.

After the video went viral on the Internet, Kati’s husband, George Metro, gave an official statement to a local Radio Station. Metro said that he and his wife were competent hikers, walking down the flat terrain of Piestewa Peak. In an instant, the woman stumbled and began falling forward. During the drop, she suffered an injury to both of her legs and her face. By the time he reached her, she was unable to stand up.

The frightened husband received help from a fellow climber who happened to be on the trail. The woman called the Police Department, and Kati was rushed to John C. Lincoln Hospital after the rescue. The officials claim the woman’s health is not affected by the inept rescue. Metro’s husband claims otherwise — his wife clarified the spinning occurrence as frightening, and at some point, she was afraid for her life.

Kati’s condition is stable, and she’s recovering in hospital. Her husband claims that when he visited her, she was in worse shape than on the mountain. The blood vessels in her face burst after the spinning, and she was in no condition to walk by herself. George Metro expressed his concern and stated that she was much more than just shaky after the rescue.

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