National Guard rescues injured hiker at Devil's Lake State Park

Sgt. Patrick Blaesing, a Wisconsin Army National Guard medic and hoist rider, works with Baraboo Fire Department and Emergency Medical Service responders to hoist an injured hiker with a Black Hawk helicopter crew from West Bend, Wis., from Devil’s Lake Sept. 28. Photo courtesy: Baraboo Fire Department
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One month after completing training at Devil's Lake State Park, the Wisconsin National Guard rescued an injured person on Sept. 28 at the park.

“It couldn’t have gone any better,” said Baraboo Fire Chief Kevin Stieve, “It was very similar to the training.”

The training was held on Aug. 29 on rescuing an injured person.

Stieve said a couple was hiking the rock face of the east side of the lake when a large stone came loose, and pinned a female hiker's leg against another large stone. The Baraboo Fire Department and Baraboo Emergency Medical Service arrived at the scene and were able to free the woman’s leg.

She was unable to walk, and the Baraboo Fire Department requested an air transport with the Air Coordination Group. That group includes Wisconsin Emergency Management, Wisconsin National Guard, Civil Air Patrol, Department of Natural Resources, Department of Transportation, the Capitol Police’s Wisconsin Drone Network, Department of Administration and the U.S. Coast Guard.

The Army Aviation Support Facility in West Bend received the mission and the Black Hawk crew arrived at Devil’s Lake by 3:39 p.m. The hiker was in the helicopter by 3:56 p.m.

Chief Warrant Officer 4 Dirk Brandt was the pilot for Saturday’s mission.
He said the weather conditions were perfect for Saturday’s mission, and communications between the responders on site was excellent. The Aug. 29 training helped as well.

“It’s a testament to the training,” Brandt said. “That was key.”

Officials said the injured hiker was brought to Stienke Basin at 4:08 p.m., and the aircraft returned to West Bend by 4:55 p.m.