Helicopter hoists injured skier to safety on Snoqualmie Pass | Video

King County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue Unit used a helicopter to hoist and rescue an injured backcountry skier trapped on the northwest side of Alpental mountain last Sunday, Feb. 12.

The skier had an injured leg and was in an area that was dangerous and difficult for ground crews to reach, said Deputy Ken O’Neal, who piloted the helicopter.

Local firefighters set up a landing zone at the pass summit, allowing the helicopter to pick up a volunteer search and rescue member, who is also a medical doctor, to assist with the operation.

The team’s initial attempt to locate the skier was unsuccessful due to a layer of heavy fog blocking the area. Eventually, they located a break in the fog that allowed them to get close.

The skier was then quickly located with assistance of a ground team that had already reached him and a deputy was dropped down via the hoist. The deputy assessed the skier’s injuries and prepared him for hoisting and transport.

The skier was hoisted to the helicopter in a “double up” hoist and the volunteer doctor on board was able to provide immediate treatment. Due to the speed of the rescue, the air crew was able to safely negotiate the brief gap in the foul weather and deliver the skier to additional waiting medical personnel at the landing zone.

You can see a video of the rescue at


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