AUSTIN, Texas - Video of Star Flight's latest rescue at the Barton Creek greenbelt is dizzying to watch. They were called in to help rescue a woman who fell off of a cliff Sunday afternoon.
Perhaps equally as dizzying is the view from the trail, looking down at the 30-to-40 foot drop she fell into.
"What we did is we came down here and we looked and we made a judgment call. we risk a lot to save a lot. So the preference would be to be on rope but because we had a critical patient, we climbed down, two of us and after that we made the decision to have everyone go down by rope," said Lt. Greg Reddish with the Austin Fire Department, Engine 32.
Reddish responded to the call. When his crew got there, they called in Star Flight but just in case of a weather or mechanical issue with the chopper, they came up with plan b.
"We don't want to start from scratch; we want to have that already in operation so that's what we did. So that was our backup plan was to bring her up in a basket up this way which we didn't have to do," Reddish said.
Both fire and Austin Travis County EMS technical rescuers worked on the patient until Star Flight stepped in.
"They inserted their rescuer whereas then the patient was packaged, hoisted, an air operation called the 10-meter delivery was initiated. That's just picking up the patient, transferring the patient to a different location," said Commander Mike Benavides with ATCEMS.
Benavides said first responders have been there nearly 20 times this year.
"We've responded to 89 land rescues, technical rescues throughout the county since January 1 of this year. In the Barton Creek greenbelt alone, we've responded to 19. Two of those being water related rescues," Benavides said.
Benavides and Reddish said it's important to know where you are on a trail so rescuers can find you.
"What they do is we basically get a GPS location of where that cell phone call came in and that is what we use that along with the description because sometimes the callers are stressed and frantic and they're like 'we're at Twin Falls,' well Twin Falls is about another three quarters of a mile down the trail," Reddish said.
Reddish said this time someone flagged rescuers down at the trail head when they got there.
Benavides suggests taking photos of the mile markers.
"Use it as your last known reference in the event that an emergency occurs that you can contact 911 and then you can look at the last photo you took and say I just passed mile marker blank..,'" Benavides said.
No one was able to tell us the woman's condition Monday. But we know she was taken to St. David's Sunday with critical, life-threatening injuries.