Fresno, Calif. – On January 16, 2019, at approximately 0700 hours, California Highway Patrol (CHP) Helicopter-40 (H-40) staffed with Pilot Officer Scott Rodda and Flight Officer/Paramedic Dustin Henschel, responded to Yosemite National Park for a rescue. According to park officials, two male hikers from England, in their mid-20’s, had become lost in the snow while hiking in the area of North Dome the day prior.
H-40 began their search in the last known location of the hikers. After a short reconnaissance, the crew was able to locate the two individuals wedged within a crevasse on the east side on North Dome. According to the pair of hikers, as they attempted to descend into Yosemite Valley, they lost the trail in the snow and became trapped in a crevasse. Unable to continue down, due to a 2000 foot vertical drop and unable to go back the way they came, because of the steep, snow covered ground, they called 911 from a cell phone.
After locating the hikers, H-40 landed in Ahwahnee Meadow to meet with Yosemite National Park Search and Rescue and devise a plan. After discussing the impending severe winter storm that was due to arrive, it was decided that a rapid insertion of two Yosemite National Park Rescue Team members would be the fastest and safest means of rescuing the stranded backpackers. The two team members were inserted with rescue gear that enabled them to reach the victims and raise them out of the crevasse to a safe and relatively flat location, above the cliff they had slept on overnight.
Once the two hikers were packaged in rescue harnesses, H-40 returned and hoisted out each victim one at a time. They were then transported to Ahwahnee Meadow where Yosemite National Park Paramedics were staged to receive and treat the two cold and wet visitors.