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Arizona National Guard makes complex landing to rescue injured hiker

Superstition Mountains rescue
Posted at 2:12 PM, Nov 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-26 18:51:24-05

APACHE JUNCTION, Ariz. (KNXV) — Members of the Arizona National Guard rescued an injured hiker by making a landing on the side of a mountain— with only the two front wheels of the aircraft.

The flight crew was dispatched on Sunday to assist the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office with an injured hiker who could not get down the mountain.

The sheriff’s office was unable to reach the hiker with their aircraft because of high winds.

The guardsmen used a Blackhawk helicopter to make a complex two-wheel landing on the side of a sloping ridge that was more than 5,000 feet in elevation.

“It’s a little more stressful than a usual landing, but for us, I think it's something we practice enough,” said CW2 Corey McCarthy.

The injured hiker was unable to make it down the mountain because of a back injury, but he was able to make it to the chopper himself.

“At risk of sounding corny, this is kind of what we live for,” said James Reed, a pilot with the Arizona National Guard.

This story was originally reported by Nicole Grigg at KNXV.com.