A police officer was severely hurt recently when he attempted to reach an injured hiker in Northern California's Shasta-Trinity National Forest. According to witnesses and California police officials, the police officer suffered the work injury on July 5. He had been dispatched to rescue a man who had broken his leg while hiking. The hiker had sustained the injury when his dog knocked him down on the trail.
According to reports, the police officer was climbing up a hill to reach the broken leg victim. A helicopter with its rotors going was nearby waiting to transport the injured man. As the officer climbed, he was struck in the head by the helicopter's rotor blades. The officer was immediately knocked unconscious.
The injured hiker, who happens to be an Air Force doctor, crawled and hobbled the length of half a football field to where the officer lay. The doctor administered aid until the officer came to and could be lifted onto the helicopter to be transported to the hospital. The police officer had fractured his skull and at last word was still hospitalized.
California police officers who are engaged in rescue activities often face serious risk of injury due to the nature of their work. Because of the inherent risks of enforcement work, police agencies are required to ensure that their officers are properly protected and trained when they are conducting their duties. That includes the provision of particular workers' compensation coverage.
Although it remains unclear at this time as to all of the factors that played a role in the work injury in this case, hopefully a thorough investigation will reveal what further procedures can be undertaken to ensure that officers are properly protected when they are put in peril during the performance of their duties. In the meantime, workers' compensation benefits will likely be of substantial assistance to the officer and his family as he struggles to recover from this terrifying incident.
Source: The Huffington Post, "Tony Stanley, California Highway Patrol Officer, Severely Injured by Helicopter Blades While Rescuing Hiker," Sudhin Thanawala, July 10, 2012