County Sheriff's Air Rescue Team Saves Hiker Bitten by Rattlesnake - NBC Southern California
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County Sheriff's Air Rescue Team Saves Hiker Bitten by Rattlesnake

"We got him to where he needed to be in better shape than we found him, so that's a win."

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Los Angeles County Sheriff's air rescue crews go in search of a hiker who was been biten by a rattlesnake and was in severe distress on the bridge to nowhere in the San Gabriel Mountains over Azusa. Kathy Vara reports for the NBC4 News on Friday, June 22, 2017.

    (Published Friday, June 23, 2017)

    After getting a call about a distressed hiker in the San Gabriel Mountains, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Air Rescue 5 team had to move fast to save the victim who had been bitten by a snake.

    "It's human nature. You get bit by a snake and most people's first reaction is, 'I'm going to die,'" said flight medic Jim Moss. "And they want to get help."

    It would have taken hours to carry the man on foot, so the Rescue 5 team had to perform an air rescue and look for the hiker on the Bridge to Nowhere in the mountains near Azusa.

    "Because it's a snake bite and he's in an isolated canyon, you don't want to have people walking, exerting themselves especially if it's a rattlesnake bite," said Steve Docette of Air Rescue 5.

    The team found the hiker down by the river. He slipped on a rock and was bit by a snake that was underneath it. His throat was swelling and he was having difficulty breathing.

    "He was in a pretty good amount of pain," Moss said.

    So they secured the hiker in a screamer suit, and with Moss secured to the apparatus, Air Rescue 5 hoisted the victim straight into the chopper.

    The team was able to quickly begin medical treatment en route to the hospital.

    "We got him to where he needed to be in better shape than we found him, so that's a win," Casey Chesier said.

    Air Rescue 5 is a program in part of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department that deploys search and rescues on land and over water.

    The team advised hikers to always have a plan before setting out. Hikers can tell people when they expect to be back, carry a GPS tracker or download an app that shows coordinates in an effort to stay safe.

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