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Man dies during helicopter rescue attempt in Yamanashi

7 Comments

Yamanashi prefectural police said Monday that a man died and two police officers were injured during a rescue attempt after a helicopter apparently caused a rockslide that hit him.

According to police, the incident occurred just before 2 p.m. Fuji TV reported that Tomohiro Ito, a 49-year-old resident of Yokohama City, Kanagawa Prefecture, was on the Komuro River slope in the village of Tabayama, Yamanashi Prefecture.

Police said he had injured his left ankle and called for help at around 9 a.m. because he could not move very far. A helicopter search found him and police officers were dispatched to the scene.

When the rescue helicopter -- which was hovering over the scene -- moved its position, rocks and tree branches suddenly tumbled down the slope over the man and the two officers. The man was airlifted to a hospital in Kofu where he was confirmed dead. The two officers sustained light injuries.

Police are investigating the details of the rockslide, which may have been caused by the helicopter.

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7 Comments
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poor guy, 5 hours waiting in pain, then this happens. the pilot must feel so awful. they do a good job.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Police said he had injured his left ankle and called for help at around 9 a.m. because he could not move very far. A helicopter search found him and police officers were dispatched to the scene.

Hmmmm so you dispatch a rescue helicopter for a injured ankle? What a waste of resources....and now it cost someone's life.

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

Yeah, a chopper seems excessive for one guy with a bad ankle on a warm spring afternoon. Should have sent an ambulance and had paramedics hike to his position.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

How unlucky is that? Like calling an ambulance which then runs over you by mistake...

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Totally uneccessary and wrong assessment of situation.

Due to lack of rescue staff ?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Poor guy, it really wasn't his day was it.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Seems like the rescue procedures should be changed. As far as I know, western coast guard and SAR units will always have the helo stand-off at a distance unless absolutely necessary for this very reason.

Rotorwash has killed a lot of people in similar incidents before, and hovering near mountain ridges and slopes puts the helo at greater risk for VRS or settling with power.

Sounds like they should consider using longer ropes or baskets, or just landing the helo conventionally in a safe flat area and have stretcher bearers bring the casualty to the chopper.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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