Rescuers use new rope system to pull woman from ravine

Rescuers use new rope system to pull woman from ravine »Play Video
Jason Mansfield, with the Clark County rescue team that pulled a pregnant woman to safety from a ravine, demonstrates how they used a new pulley system tied to the wheel of the fire truck during the rescue.

BRUSH PRAIRIE, Wash. – A rescue crew used some simple technology to rescue an 8-month pregnant woman after her car plunged into a ravine last Friday.

The woman's car rolled 75 feet into the ravine near Westerhold Road at about 7 p.m. Her two children were also in the car. People who saw the crash helped get the children out but were unable to get the woman out of the car.

The woman survived because she wore a seat belt and her jeep had a roll cage, but the difficult part of the rescue was getting her back up the ravine and onto the road. That's when the Clark County rescue team used its new rope rescue system consisting of a rope and some chains.

"Once we got her on the board and had the system ready, she was up in a couple of minutes," said Tony Wagar with Clark County Rescue, adding that it would have taken about 15 to 20 minutes to get her up the hill without the new system.

Here's how it works: Rescuers hook the rope onto the wheel of the fire truck. Then they use pulleys to guide the patient's basket to stable ground.

"All of the weight was on the rope itself," said Larry Bauska, one of the rescuers. "All we had to do was guide it up the hill, over the rocks and through the brush."

That's much safer than six people scampering up the side of an unstable ravine trying to hold an injured patient in a large stretcher. The team said the ravine was so steep they wouldn't have even tried that option.

"It's obviously safer for the patient to be tied to a secure line, versus going up with multiple people just holding on, and the chances of someone slipping," Wagar said.

If they didn't have the rope system, they would have called another crew from Vancouver, which may have delayed the rescue by 20 or 30 minutes.

Clark County rescuers started using the rope system two years ago.

Doctors told KATU News this weekend that the woman and her baby-to-be are going to be just fine.

The children suffered minor injuries.

It was unclear what caused the crash.