All of us have seen at least one of those movies about a mountaineering expedition gone wrong. If so, you’ll know that they’ve at least one sequence where the pilot drops or picks up passengers on a ledge without landing the helicopter. And you might’ve thought “eh! phek rahe hai. Hollywood hai iska matlab kuch bhi vishwas kar lenge kya?”
However, the truth of the matter is that it’s actually a common manoeuvre that rescue pilots have to practice when they’ve to conserve valuable time. Still don’t believe me? Well, then check out this insane rescue story.
Nicolas Derely, along with his friends, had gone for a mountaineering expedition to the French Alps on January 2nd. However, things went south while skiing on the slopes of Mont Blanc.
Bruno, a friend of Derely, had slipped and dislocated his knee, and was therefore unable to stand or walk. Thankfully, Derely had 4 bars on his network and managed to call in the rescue service.
Lieutenant Jean-François Martin, the gendarmerie pilot reached the scene and saw that it was impossible to land on the slope. So, he used a method called the “support skate”. He told TV channel France 2 that,
“We had mountain weather that was extremely changeable and could have prohibited us from intervening within a few minutes. The choice was made by the team to do a support skate so as to be as fast as possible.”
As seen in the footage (captured by Derely), Martin tilted the helicopter and maintained that position long enough for the rescuers to climb down and reach the skiers. Given how close he was to hitting the slope, it’s apparent the level of precision and practice Martin had in order to pull this off.
You can watch the video here:
Netizens were might impressed by the rescue mission and lauded the pilot for his courage.
Damn dude. Tip of the hat to the pilot.
— Publius (@Tru_Publius) January 10, 2019
Just wow. That’s a hell of a pilot.
— Donald Buytaert (@DonBuytaert) January 10, 2019
When they took off, how did they balance the aircraft?
The pilot's cojones, alone, must weigh over 500kg. Platinum.
— F. Moya (@faraiwe) January 10, 2019
The pilot is a stud. Absolutely incredible skills.
— Robert (@aztecone) January 10, 2019
What an incredible job by this pilot! #livingontheedge
— Andreas Singer (@ampsinger) January 10, 2019
Adrenaline junkies who do death-defying stunts are lauded for their creativity and bravery. However, they’re able to do all that because they know that people like Martin are out there to save them, in case anything goes wrong. So, I salute Martin and many others like him, who learn and execute tricky rescue operations without thinking twice.