A pickup truck veered off of a freeway, tumbled down an embankment in a Los Angeles suburb, and burst into flames in August. County of Los Angeles Fire Department aviators responded in a helicopter, and lowered a firefighter on a hoist to assist, and first find, the driver, who had crawled up a drain pipe to escape the brush fire sparked by the crash. The driver was hoisted to safety, and the crew put out the fire while they were at it.
That dramatic rescue, captured by news cameras as it happened, had a happy ending: the injured driver made a full recovery, and the firefighters were honored by Sikorsky, maker of the S-70A Firehawk helicopter they flew, at the Helicopter Association International Heli-Expo in Louisville, Kentucky. Sikorsky President Dan Schultz presented the awards to Battalion Chief Joel Harrison in a ceremony at the show.
“Our founder, Igor Sikorsky, envisioned the helicopter as a life-saving tool,” said Nathalie Previte, Sikorsky vice president, sales and marketing, in a March 2 announcement. “LA County is on the front lines each and every day as custodians of Igor’s vision, meeting the critical demands of search and rescue in firefighting missions.”
The S-70A is a version of the famous Black Hawk, customized for firefighting and rescue missions. Three of the eight helicopters in the county fleet are Firehawks.
Sikorsky also recognized Bristow Helicopters for its role in safely evacuating hundreds of workers with S-92 helicopters from six oil platforms in the North Sea on Dec. 31.