Tourism Helicopters Make Rescue Run in Niagara Falls
Niagara Helicopters is in the tourism business but have been known to work rescue missions. They have rescued numerous people who have gone over Niagara Falls or have gotten stuck in the Niagara Gorge. Just recently, they provided their service to save another person’s life.
The helicopter services company was called in to assist police, firefighters, and Niagara Emergency Medical Services to rescue a 23-year-old man who was injured after being struck by a boulder in the Niagara Glen.
The former owner of the company, Reudi Hafen, was always the guy to call in these situations. He retired in December of 2011 and signed a one year contract to remain as a pilot with the company he sold his company to. With his contract expired, the pilot who had to save the day was Rene Huessy. Rene was with his family when he got the call that he was needed to aid in the rescue.
Huessy, 34, has been with the helicopter company for 10 years and is originally from Switzerland. He started his career as an aircraft maintenance engineer but become a pilot after moving to Canada. After logging 1,000 hours of flying time with Hafen in his first year, he became a pilot himself.
Response time is crucial in these emergency situations, and Huessy knew he had to act quickly. Huessy is specially trained for “short haul” operations, where the helicopter remains hovering in the air while a police office is lowered to the ground or just above the water to help the injured person. It is often safer to remain in the air instead of landing, but there are some areas in the Niagara Gorge where a helicopter can land safely.
It can be difficult to drop the line down into an open area to where the rescue workers can come to the injured person’s aid. Huessy compared the degree of difficulty to trying to drop a sandwich into a person’s mouth from a considerable height. The Niagara Falls Fire Chief said that they are very fortunate that they have the Niagara Helicopters company to call upon in these situations.
Once the injured person is loaded onto a stretcher and ready for transport, a helicopter is able to get them out in minutes. The whole rescue mission takes skill and teamwork but can be a life-saver. The Niagara Helicopter company has proven that they are more than just a tourism business, they are also in the business of saving lives.