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The original item was published from 5/4/2023 3:19:50 PM to 5/19/2023 12:00:02 AM.

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Sheriff's Office

Posted on: May 4, 2023

[ARCHIVED] Rescue 3 Hoists Lost Hiker to Safety

SRASU Top 1-2023

Rescue 3 Hoists Lost Hiker to Safety


Tuesday afternoon, May 2, 2023, possible coordinates for a hiker reported lost/missing on May 1, 2023, at approximately 8:00 pm, were obtained by Spokane County Search and Rescue (SAR).  SAR Volunteers teams searched the large and rugged area for the hiker throughout the hours of darkness, the morning, and into the afternoon.   

With a possible location in a remote area across the border in Idaho, Rescue 3’s assistance was requested.  Rescue 3 responded and spotted the tired hiker while flying over the location and formed a plan to rescue him.

With the extended length of time it would have taken ground rescue crews to even get to the hiker’s location, it was decided a hoist rescue by Rescue 3 flight crews would be the best option for his well-being and safety.  

Rescue 3, piloted by Jack Scanlon and Dave Valenti, moved into position to safely lower Helicopter Rescue Medic (HRM) Scott Niebuhr by hoist operated by Crew Chief Chris Bylow.   Once on the ground, HRM Niebuhr contacted the hiker, assessed his condition, and readied him to be hoisted off the mountain to the safety of Rescue 3.  

Once on board, Rescue 3 transported the hiker to Pavillion Park in Liberty Lake, where his care was transferred to awaiting Spokane Valley Fire and AMR personnel on the ground.  At the time, the hiker was said to be tired but in stable condition and expected to recover.  

Rescue 3 Flight Crew


Helicopter Pilot in Charge (PIC):                             Jack Scanlon

Helicopter Pilot Second in Charge (SIC):               Dave Valenti 

Rescue Crew Chief/Hoist Operator:                      Chris Bylow, Detective, Spokane County Sheriff’s Office

Helicopter Rescue Medic:                                        Scott Niebuhr, Spokane Valley Fire Department, Firefighter/Paramedic

Helicopter Rescue Medic:                                        Chris Cornelius, Spokane Valley Fire Department, Captain/Paramedic


About the Spokane Regional Air Support Unit


The Spokane Regional Air Support Unit is comprised of Volunteer Pilots, Tactical Flight Officers (TFOs) from local law enforcement agencies, and Helicopter Rescue Medics (HRMs), Certified Firefighter/Paramedics with Spokane Valley Fire Department.   


TFOs: Deputies and Officers from the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office, Spokane Valley Police Department, Spokane Police Department, and the Liberty Lake Police Department.


Air 1 and Air 2: Two OH-58’s equipped with Forward-Looking Infra-Red (FLIR), which allows aircrews to detect heat on the ground.  FLIR can be used to locate both missing people and hiding fugitives.  

Air-1 and Air-2 are also equipped with a 30 million candle power searchlight, a GPS moving map system, and the flight crews are equipped with night vision goggles.  In addition, Air-1 is fitted with a downlink that transmits live video from the helicopter to the Mobile Command Vehicle.  The microwave downlink allows police and fire staff to see real-time video from the helicopter and make timely decisions based on what they see. 


Rescue 3: A Bell UH-1H Super Huey is equipped with a long line and hoist system for short-haul rescue missions.  The long line and hoist system allows our Helicopter Rescue Medics and Tactical Flight Officers to be lowered from Rescue 3 to retrieve a citizen that is either injured or lost in remote areas.  The primary mission for Rescue 3 is search and rescue.  



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