Facebook Post Leads to Dramatic Solano County Helicopter Rescue
January 5, 2015
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  • VACAVILLE, Calif. (BCN) — A California Highway Patrol helicopter team rescued a father and his 11-year-old son after the man fell from a cliff and got stuck in a tree Sunday afternoon in the Putah Creek State Wildlife Area in Solano County, CHP officials said.

    CHP air units responded to a request for mutual aid from the Vacaville Fire Protection District at 3:10 p.m., CHP officials said.

    A CHP airplane team received the pair’s location based on the GPS coordinates from a 911-cellphone call made by the victim’s son.

    The 11-year-old boy told officers he was hiking with his father when his father fell from the cliff and got stuck in a tree on the side of the cliff.

    At first, the CHP airplane team couldn’t find the son or his father because the GPS coordinates weren’t accurate, CHP officials said. But, CHP officials said an officer searched the man’s Facebook page, where the father had posted the name of the trail where they were hiking.

    Based on the new location, the CHP airplane team, manned by CHP officers Chad Jessee and Jeff Moring, found the pair south of the Monticello Dam.
    They stayed on scene until a CHP helicopter arrived. CHP helicopter pilot Pete Gavitte hovered over the pair while CHP Officer Craig Koyl lowered CHP Officer and paramedic Ben Schmidt to extract the boy.

    After hoisting the boy to a nearby command post, Koyl again lowered Schmidt to tend to the boy’s injured father, CHP officials said.

    Schmidt triaged the man and prepared him for transport with the help of two firefighters from the Vacaville Fire Protection District who had climbed down the cliff to assist.

    The team hoisted the man up the cliff where they transferred him to the helicopter and flew him to a nearby trauma center with possible life-threatening injuries.