California

Holiday weekend hike by couple, dog ends in Sierra helicopter rescue

Video captures fallen female hiker being hoisted to safety near South Lake Tahoe

Authorities rescue by helicopter Michelle Powell, 27, of South Lake Tahoe, who was injured south of South Lake Tahoe on Sunday during a rock-climbing excursion.
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Authorities rescue by helicopter Michelle Powell, 27, of South Lake Tahoe, who was injured south of South Lake Tahoe on Sunday during a rock-climbing excursion.

What started as a fun Memorial Day weekend rock-climbing outing in the Sierra took a scary turn for a couple and their dog on Sunday that ended in a helicopter rescue.

As the trio began climbing the base of Luther Rock just south of Lake Tahoe, the man, identified only as John, gave the dog a boost onto a ledge, but it began sliding toward the edge, the California Highway Patrol reported in a news release. The woman, Michelle Powell, 27, tried to push the dog back, in the process losing balance and falling backward.

She grabbed a shrub to stop her slide on the steep hillside, but it didn’t hold and she fell 30 feet among the rocks, suffering injuries, authorities said.

John called 911 on his cellphone and a CHP helicopter was sent to the rescue. Because of the steep terrain, two crew members were lowered on a hoist to bring Powell up in a rescue seat.

She was flown to Barton Hospital in South Lake Tahoe for treatment of her injuries. John and his dog were uninjured and hiked out on their own, the CHP said.

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