CORTLANDT, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A hiker who fell in Westchester County and ended up seriously injured was brought to safety in a nail-biting rescue Sunday.
As CBS2’s Scott Rapoport reported, video shows the harrowing, dramatic air rescue. After a hellacious fall, the badly injured hiker was lifted into a police helicopter above and then transported to a hospital.
Rescuers on the scene say Thomas Javenes, 46, of Stony Point, described as an experience hiker, was alone in Hudson Highland State Park on Sunday morning by the Bear Mountain Bridge. He was descending on a trail, when he slipped and fell 30 feet down to a wooded area below, rescuers said. Javenes was immobilized and in pain.
“He was actually found by another hiker,” said Raymond Bombino, a forest ranger with the state police. “And he told that hiker that he had been there for three hours.”
The other hiker called 911.
Bombino was one of the first rescuers on the scene and saw the gravity of the situation.
“Fall could have killed him,” he said.
Bombino and the other rescuers helped carry Javenes down to a clearing, but the rugged terrain prevented them from carrying him out of the park.
A Westchester County police chopper was then flown in to delicately extricate Javenes — first dropping a line with a hook, then attaching it to the stretcher and hoisting him 75 feet into the air to be taken to Westchester County Medical Center.
“He was nervous,” said police Lt. James Luciano, who helped secure Javenes to the hoist line. “He just wanted to be taken care of. He wanted to be treated.”
Sources told CBS2 that Javenes was in serious condition Monday afternoon with a possible spinal fracture and wrist fracture. He has declined to be interviewed.
Rescuers said he is very grateful.
“He told us he owed us all dinner,” Bombino said.
Javenes told rescuers he had hiked the trail many times before without incident.