A helicopter pilot pulled off a daring maneuver to rescue an injured skier high in the French Alps, after a group he was with became stranded.
The skiers encountered trouble this week 7,200 feet above seal level, in the Pass of Anterne as snow conditions worsened. On of the skiers received a knee injury and could not walk.
The Gendarme en Montagne, a specialized French police unit that patrols the French Alps, and one of its helicopters were called in to help.
A video taken by a skier in the group showed how precarious the maneuver was. The pilot put the nose and rotor blades of the chopper within inches of the snow, on a declining section of the mountain.
“It gained us time because the weather in the mountain were extremely changeable,” Chamonix Gendarme pilot Lt. Jean-Francois Martin said in a report by The Independent. “The level of cloud on the pass would have stopped us from intervening just a few minutes later.”
As the chopper holds steady, rescuers jump off and tend to the injured. The crew then ties the patent to the helicopter and flies to safety.
Pilots said they practice the maneuver regularly as part of their training.