A hiker high on Sonoma Mountain had to call for help on Sunday when he suffered a medical emergency, and the CHP came to the rescue.
Although the hiker’s condition was not made public, the 25-year-old man was apparently able to use his cell phone first to call for aid, then to direct the helicopter crew to his location on Sonoma Ridge Trail, in the southwest corner of the park. The crew was able to speak with him using their on-board satellite phone, said Shaun Bouyea of the CHP.
When the hiker was located, the pilot landed CHP helicopter H-30 in a nearby open field that the hiker and his companion were able to reach. Two CHP paramedics provided advance life support to the patient, then loaded him and his hiking partner into the chopper. They were flown down to the horse staging area near the park entrance where a Sonoma Valley Fire & Rescue ambulance was waiting to provide further treatment.
“I wouldn’t say it was a rescue,” said Spencer Andreis of the SVFR. “We had a gentleman with a medical emergency on a trailhead, and the CHP basically gave him a ride out.”
According to the CHP report, the hiker is expected to fully recover.
Bouyea of the CHP’s Napa air operations unit said that such rescues are part of the public service function of the California Highway Patrol, and come out of the same general operations budget as traffic activity. The CHP does not bill for these rescue services.
The Jack London State Park rescue occurred on a busy afternoon for the local CHP rescue flight craft, said Bouyea, in the middle of two other rescue operations. Before 10 a.m., the same helicopter, H-30, participated in the rescue of a female hiker in her 60s who was suffering from a severe medical emergency in Contra Costa County.
Following the Jack London rescue, the H-30 responded to a collision in the toll plaza of the Carquinez Bridge, and transported a motorcycle rider with major injuries to John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek.
And after 11 p.m., the air operations unit was part of a multi-agency response to multiple “sideshow” car events in Vallejo, which resulted in several arrests and vehcile impoundments, according to local news reports.
The Napa air operations unit has two helicopters and two planes available; statewide, there are 15 helicopters and a like number of airplanes.