Palabras Pintorescas: ‘Copters, police do a fine job during emergencies

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By Editha Bartley

Oh! Look! It is a bird, no...it is a plane. No it is a helicopter in our hay field across the road from my house. And this isn’t the first time we have had a helicopter land in the field.

This “bird” was a Medivac helicopter, called in by both our state police and our fire department responders to pick up the driver of a wrecked car, down our road about a mile or so.  

High voltage powerlines and abundant forest terrain make it hard to safely land helicopters like this. I learned a lot about how a sight is picked because I was able to listen to some of the communication between the firefighters and the helicopter pilot.

The GPS system is well and works very well. I saw first-hand once again. We actually have another landing site very near this one, should the helicopter have to land here before our big hay meadow is cut and baled, and hay fields are good landing areas because there needs to be room for several emergency vehicles near the landing site as well.

Thankfully, the field wasn’t swamped with rainwater. The story might have been very different even two weeks ago after the big rains here in September.

A long time a go when helicopters were first used by our Game Department to count elk and pronghorns in our high country, a helicopter was utilized to fly our adjacent Pecos Wilderness, to do a game count.

Before this big day was over, all of my family got to see our high country from the copilot’s seat in this helicopter. None of us will ever forget the spectacular views we soaked in, the skills the pilot had when it came to tricky maneuvers over high mountain terrain, and the frightened look on our horses’ and cows’ faces when we buzzed them from up high. Yes,  I took a lot of pictures on this eventful day here.

Another time Gov. Bruce King was a guest speaker at a big Adelante Resource, Conservation Department meeting I chaired here. His schedule was tight so he had his helicopter drop him off here and he spoke to a big crowd during our picnic lunch event.

Yes, Jim and kids got to fly over the ranch and the valley during this time because the pilot noted he needed to burn off some fuel. Our elevation and tricky mountain winds can create serious flying problems in an instant. There used to be a landing strip just down the road at Pendaries, but that was abandoned long ago because the down-drafts when taking off from there were very dangerous for even small airplanes.

There have been several airplane crashes in these mountains and we never want there to be another one happen nearby. Just getting the occupants of a crashed plane out safely is very difficult, obviously.

I understand the wreck victim was probably not in a seriously critical condition, but it is such a blessing to have a Medivac helicopter called for an emergency such as this. The paramedics on this chopper were obviously well trained, as was our own Superior Ambulance crew who responded so quickly to the call.

And hats off, and a huge thank you to both our State Police and our State Fire Departments for all they do in these emergency situations.

Our Sapello-Rociada Fire Department and our State Police worked hand-in-glove to secure a wreck site. This can be a very dangerous job for all concerned. Thank you all, once again for a job well done, guys and gals.                    

Editha Bartley lives in Gascon in Mora County. She may be reached at 454-0563.