01 January 2008
It took a while to figure out what was going on... frustrating!
We use the helicopter to save seconds, and here I was wasting minutes trying to find a scene right beneath me!
The call came in- "Your flight is a go for a male victim, trapped beneath the blade of a bulldozer."
... Another of those stupid things we sometimes do when we're in a hurry-
He owned/operated/maintained the machine, and when a crack in the blade needed welding, he was the guy to do it. He lifted the blade the normal way, hydraulically, and since the job would only take a couple minutes, he didn't support it to keep it from falling. You know the rest of the story already don't you? While he was repairing the crack one of the hydraulic hoses burst and the blade fell across his midsection. I don't know what the blade weighed... someone help me... It was a D7 Caterpillar. (Dave, are you out there?)
I know the blade weighed half a ton, maybe a full 2000 pounds. It effectively cut him in half. He was feeling some pain, but was conversing with others. The question was, what would happen when the blade was lifted off his body?
The flight to the scene took all of 8 minutes. I was in contact and coordinating our landing with the scene commander, a municipal policeman.
To him I said, "Okay, let me know when you see or hear me and guide me in."
From him I hear, "Okay, you're over us right now!"
We are flying parallel to an Interstate Highway, but when I looked down, all I could see was the view you see in the above photograph.
I bank hard to the right and say, "Okay, I don't see ya. Let me know when I'm over you again." A few seconds later, at a higher pitch this time: "You're over us right now!"
...And again I'm lookin' at the same scenario... nothin' but trees.
-"Are the lights on your squad car flashing?"
I take a deep breath and key the radio again- "I don't see ya partner. Where exactly are you?" His answer shows how thought processes sometimes get confused under combat conditions-
"I'm parked right beneath this big Oak Tree!"
No way I could have seen him through all the leaves.
He was looking through his own eyes only... not trying to imagine what I was seeing.
Most all ambulance districts have GPS units now and they are real lifesavers. Because of them, we don't often go through this agony. But if you ever experience an emergency and are trying to get help quickly, try your best to put yourself in the responder's shoes and give directions accordingly. If possible, know which direction is North/South/East/West.
And I know you're probably wondering...
No, he didn't make it.