|IN THEIR OWN WORDS|
A commuter van on their way to work had 10 employees of the NASA Jet Propulsion Lab in it. The van crashed over the side of a mountain approximately 200 feet. Witnesses summoned help and Copter 16 was the first helicopter on scene. The crew included Pilot Pat Stefanski, Fire Fighter Paramedic Tony Vlach, and Fire Fighter Paramedic Mike Dubron. Dubron, who is pictured operating the hoist, was the Crew Chief on the incident. Of the ten victims, one self extricated, 3 were D.O.A., one was hoisted out by L.A. County Fire Helicopter 18, (Bell 412) and 5 victims were hoisted out by L.A. County Fire Helicopter 16 (S-70 "Firehawk"). Pilot Stefanski positioned the aircraft to allow Dubron to lower Vlach down to begin the triage and to order additional equipment as needed. Vlach was immediately able to get two ambulatory victims out of the early morning winter elements. Stefanski and Dubron operated under a low ceiling due to fog. They repositioned the aircraft and transferred the medical care and needs of victims to ground units. Due to the wire environment and terrain, Copt 16 stayed on station and continued the extrication of 3 additional litter patients. Copt 16 was also able to lower the "Jaws of Life" to Vlach and other personnel on the ground to extricate the trapped victims. Thanks to the participating agencies in this massive response which included L.A. County Fire, Sheriff, Angeles Forrest, and California Highway Patrol, all living victims were extricated within approximately ninety minutes.