This is a shot of the MAMA helicopter landing at Groove Tube on July 15th, 1991 to airlift Slim Ray to Mission Hospital after his back injury at Sunshine. Flights into the Green are far too risky though, and this was a one-and-done. The MAMA helicopters will no longer land in the gorge and this flight was touch-and-go to say the least, apparently pruning branches both on the way in and on the way out --- so I was told. Contrary to some persistent rumors, the pilot, Dutch Fridd, a veteran of the Viet Nam war, was not fired for the daring rescue, and went on to later retire in 2015.
To read the accident report on AW for Slim Ray, click here.
Twenty-five years later, in October of 2016, a hiker with a broken ankle was airlifted out via helicopter from the same area, but the man was cabled up and the chopper didn't land.
Slim Ray, who was paralyzed from the waist down in his accident, published the well-known book River Rescue with co-author Les Bechtel the year before his accident (available from http://www.cfspress.com/). He has continued to serve as an impressive advocate and educator around safety issues in whitewater paddlesports, writing several more books and leading clinics on swiftwater rescue for first responders.
Backboards: A series of other major and minor injuries have occurred at Sunshine over the years, including another evacuation (from a broken back) in the Summer of 2009 which required a backboard to be brought into the gorge by local EMS personnel. The amount of time this took was frustrating to paddlers on the scene, and there is now a backboard designed and built by Green boaters located near Sunshine in the event of its use being necessary in the future. Green regulars should know where it's located....if you don't know, then ask someone. It is out of sight....on river right, below the pool below Rapid Transit. If you're doing the portage there, and do the first drop down on that loggie-log, then go ahead 30', from there it's uphill to your right on a shelf out of site, maybe 20' away. This backboard was used during the 2011 Green Race to carry out an intrepid first year racer with a punctured lung, and there was some initial confusion as to its whereabouts. Make sure you know where it is, and tell others about it.
There was for a time a second backboard located right at Gorilla on river left, but it was absconded with.
|Author:||Photographer unknown, courtesy John Sherman, flight nurse.||Location:||@Green 2. Green Narrows|
|AW Photo ID:||250173||AW Reach ID:|
author of photo John Pilson