Letters to the Editor

Tuesday, Feb 21 2012 11:05 PM

Criticism of mountain rescue efforts off base

By The Bakersfield Californian

Once again, we get to read Lois Henry pontificating on a subject she knows nothing about ("Time for review of rescue attempt," Feb. 19). Her recent columns on the death of a local logger point out two things: Logging is dangerous and Henry knows nothing about mountain rescue.

Sorry, but Hall Ambulance crews are not mountain rescue crews, and if Henry ever tried to walk up a 20- to 30-degree slope with medical equipment, she might be more sympathetic. Riding on a bulldozer as a passenger is patently unsafe and against every safety rule in the book.

That a helicopter crew takes a seemingly long time to lower men and equipment into this kind of terrain is not unexpected, especially if there is any kind of wind; this type of terrain breeds updrafts and downdrafts, and on top of all else, extreme care must be taken when trying to send them down through tall trees and brush.

My sympathies to the family and friends of Bill Bennett, but Henry is way off base. The opinions of the fire department person on-site are just that, opinions, but he wasn't flying the helicopter.

The rest, about the fire department helicopter being on-site faster and doing a quicker job, is just undue criticism from someone who really doesn't know the situation or is disappointed by the outcome. I'm sure the Kern County Sheriff's Department and Hall Ambulance are disappointed by the outcome, but as the old saying goes, "Hindsight is always 20-20."

Clinton Stewart

Bakersfield

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