HETS Mountain Rescue in Yoho National Park

News tonight of a rescue in Yoho National Park.

Parks Canada pioneered the rescue technique SAR people in BC know variously as HETS (Human External Transport System), or “Class ‘D’” operations (referring to the Aviation regulations that govern people being attached to the outside of an aircraft). Some of the earliest posts on this blog are about how I was involved with the HETS team for the Winter Olympics. Well I was originally trained for HETs while in the Mountain Rescue Program, and among the people who trained us were Mountain Safety Specialists from Parks Canada.

It’s interesting to note that this rescue was called in using a SPOT device – I’ve also linked to several articles in the past that detail how rescue doesn’t come as fast as you might think with these devices. In this case, at least according to the news report, it seems it did.

Regarding the comments about the elevation of the rescue, this is not just idle talk. It’s important for the pilot of the helicopter to have some excess lift, especially in mountain flying conditions. If he needs to go up, he’d better have some extra power, or enough flying room to drop and gain air speed. With a guy like me hanging on the end of the rope it complicates things.

As a rescuer it would be interesting to hear more abut the helicopter, and how long a line they used, and other details of the rescue. Does anyone out there know more about this?

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