Tuesday night, Angela Rose ascended into the pitch-black sky, not knowing whether she would be able to find — let alone save — the three people who were believed to have crashed in a helicopter in the Superstition Mountains in Pinal County, Ariz.
When Rose, a trooper paramedic with the Arizona Department of Public Safety, and helicopter pilot Scott Clifton spotted the downed chopper and a small, flashing light, they shifted into rescue mode, according to Amy B. Wang of The Arizona Republic.
The crash site was difficult to reach, so Rose had to leap from the helicopter as it hovered over the mountainside.
Rose jumped out and began making her way to the crash scene, crawling over cactus and through thorn bushes. Clifton told her later that as soon as she landed, he lost visual of her.
Rose described the scene to The Arizona Republic:
The temperatures on the mountain had plunged into the 20s. The survivor was screaming and shivering, covered in snow and jet fuel that was still leaking from the downed helicopter. Rose covered him in a blanket she had brought along, then gave him her own coat and gloves.
“Relax,” she told him. “We’re going to get you out of here.”
With the help of an Air Force rescue team, Rose saw her patient to safety. She then had to turn her attention to the two helicopter occupants who hadn’t survived the crash. Only after the pair — a pilot and a flight nurse — had been recovered from the mountain did the shock and sadness of their deaths sink in. “You don’t think about that stuff when you’re there and working,” she said.