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Fine Sonoma County weather keeps Henry 1 crews busy

Henry 1 is used to get searchers to their starting points in Annadel State Park.

PD FILE, 2011
Published: Sunday, February 17, 2013 at 6:13 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, February 18, 2013 at 12:10 p.m.

Fine weather lured people into the outdoors over the weekend, keeping the Sonoma County sheriff's helicopter crew and other emergency responders busy.

Steady calls sent emergency responders to help lost or injured hikers, cyclists, motorcyclists and others, including four teen girls astray after dark in Annadel State Park.

On Sunday, a woman seriously hurt her ankle at Sugarloaf Ridge State Park and, unable to walk, called for help just before 2 p.m., sheriff's officials said.

The sheriff's Henry 1 helicopter team found her on the Vista Trail near the top of the ridge, said Deputy Henri Boustany, a tactical flight officer. The helicopter couldn't land near her due to the terrain, so a crewmember was lowered at the end of a rope, secured the woman into a harness and flew with her to a waiting ambulance near the park's Robert Ferguson Observatory, Boustany said.

While that rescue was in progress, a cyclist fell at about 2:20 p.m. on Annadel State Park's Rough-Go Trail, possibly breaking a leg, Bennett Valley Fire Lt. Matt Tognozzi said.

Firefighters found the man, who had fallen near the Canyon Trail, and helped load him into the CHP's Napa-based helicopter, Tognozzi said.

The man was flown to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital.

On Saturday, the Henry 1 crew was patrolling the coast at about 1:15 p.m. when dispatchers broadcast that two motorcyclists had crashed south of Goat Rock.

The motorcyclists, good friends, were riding one behind the other when the front biker entered a curve too fast, laid the bike down and hit a Highway 1 guardrail, causing the second biker to crash as well, CHP Officer Nenad Gorenec said.

The helicopter crew spotted the bikers, who had crashed near Shell Beach, Boustany said.

Pilot Paul Bradley landed, and the unit's rescue paramedic Scott Westrope determined that one of the motorcyclists suffered major injuries, with possible internal trauma. They flew the man to Memorial Hospital.

The other motorcyclist also had significant injuries and was taken by ambulance to Memorial, Gorenec said.

Later Saturday, the helicopter crew helped find four teen girls lost in Annadel.

It was well after nightfall when the girls called for help with a cellphone. At about 7:15 p.m., they told authorities they set out on a hike at about 4:30 p.m. and became lost, Boustany said.

Using night-vision tools, the crew found the girls on the Cobblestone Trail northwest of Lake Ilsanjo.

The helicopter landed about 300 yards away, and Boustany hiked to them, then walked them to the chopper.

As the helicopter flew the first two girls out of the park and Boustany stayed with the other two, a man emerged from the brush, Boustany said.

The man was wearing dress shoes with a broken heel, complained that he was dehydrated and appeared disoriented.

After all four girls were flown to safety, the man was flown out as well. Boustany said deputies were investigating what he was doing in the park.

None of the identities of those rescued or injured was immediately available.

You can reach Staff Writer Julie Johnson at 521-5220 or julie. johnson@pressdemocrat.com.

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