Helicopter makes one-of-a-kind Nevada rescue

Over the weekend, the Metropolitan Police Department’s search and rescue team completed the first successful rescue in the United States using an Airbus H145 helicopter, Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo said.

According to a series of tweets posted by Lombardo on Saturday, it was the first rescue hoist completed in the country using the aircraft, which the department unveiled in August. He said the rescue took more than two hours to complete.

The newest addition to the department’s fleet was used in the Saturday night Gold Butte rescue, and Federal Aviation Administration records show that it is the only one of its kind in Nevada.

FAA records also show that there are just 19 other registered H145 helicopters in the country. That model is expected to be in service for at least 25 years.

Police said Metro’s crew was requested Saturday afternoon to assist in rescue efforts about 15 miles from Bunkerville, near state Route 170, after a man’s ATV rolled over and landed on top of him.

The man was airlifted sometime before 8 p.m. to a local hospital with serious injuries, but Metro spokesman Aden OcampoGomez said Monday that his injuries appeared not to be life-threatening. His condition Monday was unknown.

Steve Morris Jr., the chief pilot for Metro’s air support section, co-piloted the mission.

“It was an honor for me to be part of this crew as co-pilot,” Morris wrote in a tweet Sunday morning in response to the sheriff. “Thank you for the recognition of the entire crew, Sheriff Lombardo.”

The $9.6 million helicopter sports two engines and a smaller rotor diameter than the department’s previous fleet of helicopters, which were manufactured in 1973.

“It is a significant advancement to our current capabilities,” Morris said of the H145 at the August unveiling.

Its two engines allow the helicopter to remain in the air if one engine fails, while the smaller rotor lets the aircraft maneuver in tight spaces, Morris said.

Most of the air unit’s rescue missions occur in the Red Rock National Conservation Area and at Mount Charleston, he said. The unit assists in about 120 rescue missions annually.

The tail number on Metro’s H145 — N145DV — honors officer David VanBuskirk, who fell to his death in 2013 while trying to lift a stranded hiker to a helicopter at Mount Charleston.

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