GSP Aviation Successful in First Hoist Rescue Mission

JUNE 28, 2005                                                                             
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                      



(ATLANTA)—When a small plane crashed Monday night and trapped the plane’s pilot in a heavily wooded area of Floyd County, months of practice for just such a scenario by the Georgia State Patrol’s Aviation Unit paid off with a textbook rescue.  The operation Monday was the first live rescue mission for the unit using its specially-equipped helicopter with rescue hoist, the only one of its kind in the Southeastern United States.

Sergeant First Class Greg Mercier, Chief Pilot for the Georgia State Patrol, said the  rescue began shortly after the wreckage was located and it was determined that access by conventional vehicle would be impossible.  The specially-trained rescue crew, consisting of GSP pilots Mercier and Senior Trooper David Doehla; Lt. Jeff Patellis of the Cobb County Police Department, hoist operator; and Paramedics Chris Sobieski and Frank Summers of Cobb County Fire and Rescue, then set out for their mission in the GSP UH-1 (Huey) helicopter with the rescue hoist.

Once over the crash site, Paramedic Summers was lowered by hoist to the crash site along with a backboard and stretcher.  He was able to stabilize and prepare the pilot, Nancy Moore, for the lift from the crash site.  Lt. Patellis then lifted the pilot from the site and she was then treated on-board the helicopter by Paramedic Sobieski.  Once Summers was back in the helicopter, Ms. Moore was flown to the Rome Airport where an ambulance was waiting.

“This is an excellent example of interagency cooperation,” SFC Mercier said.  “We have trained for different rescue scenarios since last summer when we obtained the hoist.  This one went by the numbers.”  Mercier said fog and rain in the area added to the obstacles the rescue team faced.