Two farm boys from a VERY small community...
Eighteen and nineteen, they were raised together, worked together. Farm kids are strong, tough, and fit.
They were setting up an irrigation system, moving the pipe so it could later be fastened together. Lifting one of the lengths of pipe one of the boys noticed his end was heavier than normal. Upon investigating they found it contained a large raccoon. Was Rocky in trouble... wedged in there? Together they hoisted the 30-foot section of pipe to try to free the raccoon.
"Weather check for ***********."
"Yes, we can do that."
"Then you have a primary go for an electrocution."
Including walking to the aircraft and a quick once-around to check shore lines are detached and cowlings are all secure, I have the helicopter airborne in just under five minutes. It's a crystal clear night. When I have the aircraft pointed toward our destination we can clearly see the red lights of emergency vehicles converging on one spot from several points of the compass, from just over 30 miles distant.
"****3, I have coordinates when you're ready to copy."
"We don't need them dispatch. We have the scene in sight."
"Roger. Your patient is one of two victims, both electrocuted, both in full arrest. CPR is in progress. Your contact is **********. Contact them on Fire/Mutual Aid."
I make contact with the ground commander and he describes the LZ to include warning us about wires...
Those same wires the pipe made contact with when the boys lost control of the long piece of pipe they were balancing.
Adjacent to our LZ on the ground are four ambulances and six Police cruisers, all with lights flashing. The LZ is designated by four red strobelights set up in rectangular form just North of the ambulances. I circle the scene once to identify the wires and look for other obstructions, then turn on and adjust all my landing and search-lights and shoot my approach to the red strobes. The strobes are laid out in an open field with new shoots of wheat sprouting. With all the rain we've had lately I'm fearful my crew will have to drag our stretcher through mud to get to our patient.
"*********, I'd like to reposition the helicopter South of you on the farm road if that won't cause you any problems."
He repeats my request to insure he understands, then says he has no problem with the move.
I bring the helicopter to a high hover and reposition it 100 feet South where the dirt road is hard and dry and my crew has easy access to our patient. I land, bring the aircraft to flight idle, and make note of the landing time and new coordinates as my crew unloads the stretcher and walks to the scene.
I secure the aircraft controls and disembark the aircraft to preclude anyone from approaching too close. From my vantage point I can see two heads bobbing up and down, separated by about 20 feet...
Emergency personnel in the act of doing CPR.
It ain't like they show on TV or in the movies, folks...
Done properly, it can break ribs.
My paramedic approaches, our empty stretcher in tow.
"We're going to ********* County Hospital by ambulance."
It's difficult to do effective CPR in the back of the helicopter. The patients have a much better chance of survival if CPR continues in the ambulance.
We load the stretcher and I stand by to insure both ambulances are safely on the road to the local hospital, then take off and fly 8 minutes to the landing pad. I shut down and wait at the ER door, listening for the sound of the approaching ambulances. While I'm waiting, family members and friends, having heard about the incident, begin to arrive and stand waiting with me.
Both ambulances arrive. No one disembarks. Through the windows we can all see the motions of someone continuing CPR on both patients. Mournful wailing begins. When the crews finally get out and come up the ramp to the ER, CPR still in progress on both boys, the wailing worsens.
Ten minutes pass.
My crew comes out into the hallway, followed shortly by the ER Doctor.
He's declared both boys dead.
Local paramedics and EMT's who know these boys personally openly weep...
It's one of the disadvantages of living in these small communities... everyone knows everyone.
They were just trying to free a trapped raccoon, and now they're dead.
And I didn't even get a chance to try to help.
Life ain't fair.