Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Grand Canyon rim-to-rim backpacking trip ~ helicopter rescue, Grand Canyon, Arizona

As mentioned yesterday, while we were hanging out at the Pumphouse Residence, a woman needed to be airlifted via helicopter by the National Park Service. Basically, she slipped while hiking on the trail and did something (how’s that for medical-speak?) to her hip, and was unable to continue hiking at the elevation changes that were needed to hike out of, or further into, the canyon. She was able to walk to the helicopter, and we sat and chatted with her and her friends while they waited for the helicopter.
Curious as to how the rescue system works below the rim? Basically, the Grand Canyon has a couple helicopters for rescues (which they prioritize as calls come in – oh there are emergency call boxes at various places, such as the Pumphouse and Phantom Ranch) but when their helicopters are busy, then they contract out to private emergency helicopters. And yes, you pay for the service, and no, we’re not sure if health insurance covers the rescue. :-) (Although I’m sure our plan has some “do something stupid, we don’t cover it” clause!) :-)
After watching the helicopter rescue (oh, and this was one of three that day, we later found out), we continued onto our destination for the day: Cottonwood Campground.

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