Bluff rescue successful thanks to advanced training

4:53 PM, Aug 21, 2013   |    comments
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RED WING, Minn. - Barn Bluff's North Trail in Red Wing is not for the faint at heart.

"Very narrow, very steep, you slip and fall you got a 200-foot drop," trail hiker Butch Brent said Tuesday evening, just hours after a woman fell off the trail and slid at least 50 feet down the bluff.

The accident happened just before 10 a.m. Tuesday when the woman was hiking there with two friends.

When the call came, first responders from Red Wing to St. Paul were ready.

"This is something we practice," Red Wing Fire Department Capt. Jim Eppen said of the event.

While Red Wing paramedics took to the bluff to repel down to the victim, the Minnesota Aviation Rescue Team, or MART, came from above.

MART teams up the Minnesota State Patrol pilots with St. Paul Fire Department rope rescue team members for rescues just like this one.

This was a precision rescue from above in an area where everyday emergency response vehicles couldn't get to easily or quickly.

"The pilots were able to lower firefighters down through the trees to where this person was located," MART pilot Lt. Matt Nelson said.

Within an hour of the call, while the woman laid hanging to brush on the bluff, she was cherry picked out by two firefighters lowered down from the chopper on ropes.

It was textbook as practiced for this exact accident.

"It was a very good result today and that's why we train. That's why this team was implemented, for this exact case," St. Paul Fire Department MART member Mike Garde said.

The woman rescued was alert the entire time.

She was taken by chopper to St. Mary's Hospital in Rochester for treatment.

The extent of her injuries are unknown.

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