Helicopter rescues woman at Pt. Reyes

Deputies in the Sonoma County Sheriff’s helicopter rescued a 55-year-old woman Friday¬†from the Point Reyes National Seashore after she fell off a horse, according to the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office.

The Sonoma County Sheriff’s helicopter, “Henry 1,” responded to the report of an injured woman in a remote area of the state park at around 1:40 p.m., deputies said.

The accident occurred in an area with limited vehicle and emergency resource access. The Henry 1 crew found the 55-year-old woman with a National Park Ranger, who was assisting her, on a trail surrounded by a dense canopy of trees, deputies said.

The helicopter landed in a nearby clearing and attached a 200-foot rope to the belly of the aircraft. The pilot flew two crew members with medical and rescue equipment to the woman before flying her out on the long line to an awaiting Marin County Fire ambulance, deputies said.

The woman was later transported to a medical facility for treatment.

The Henry 1 crew consists of a professional pilot, a deputy sheriff who is trained as an emergency medical technician and a paramedic. During long line rescues, one crew member will hook him or herself to the end of a line and tie the other end of the line to the helicopter.

The pilot flies the rescuer to the victim, the rescuer secures the victim, and then the pilot, rescuer and victim all travel together to another location where they can land safely and provide medical attention, according to friendsofhenry1.org, a website dedicated to the Sonoma County Sheriff’s helicopter.

Deputies said the Henry 1 crew regularly trains for long line rescues in the ocean, on cliffs, and in other remote areas along the north coast. The first North Bay regional rescue helicopter began flying in 1960 when Sgt. Ed Wilkinson started using his personal helicopter to do flying patrols, according to friendsofhenry1.org.

Wilkinson’s helicopter was soon replaced by “Angel 1,” the first county-owned helicopter. That helicopter crashed during a search for a lost child, killing Wilkinson, according to the site.

In 1977, Sonoma County residents signed a petition urging the return of the helicopter service, prompting the reinstatement of the program with “Angel 2,” which met a similar fate in 1980.

In 1981, the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office started using professional pilots, this time with the first helicopter dubbed “Henry 1.” The current Henry 1 has been leased or owned by Sonoma County since 2001, according to the website.