WATCH: How a helicopter operator rescued a skier from Saturday’s deadly avalanche


SALT LAKE CITY (KTVX) — Video from the Utah Department of Public Safety shows the heroism of helicopter operators and search and rescue crews.

In the above video, helmet and helicopter video shows what it was like to rescue and recover the skiers from Saturday’s deadly avalanche in Millcreek Canyon that left six people fully buried and one partially trapped in the snow.

Sgt. Wyatt Weber with UDPS helped get one of the skiers to safety on Saturday. He told NewsNation affiliate KTVX all it takes is a matter of minutes, adding the skiers from Saturday’s avalanche were some of the most prepared he has ever seen in his career.

Weber also helped recover four bodies of skiers who did not survive the following day. In total, four people were rescued and four people died.

“It’s rough to see that many fatalities, injuries and things like that; you really have to take a step back at that point and kind of out of your mind and focus on the mission,” Weber said.

Intermountain Life Flight rescued the three other skiers on Saturday. It is the only civilian air medical program in the U.S. authorized by the FAA to perform hoist rescues.

UDPS was responding to another rescue mission in Emery County Saturday when it first got the call about the Millcreek Canyon avalanche.

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This video KTVX obtained from the Utah Highway Patrol shows the efforts of the Utah Department of Public Safety. The teams from both UDPS and Intermountain Life Flight locate the skiers, sends the hoist down, and straps in the person being rescued.

“We put them in a vest and its almost like sitting in a giant hammock,” said Weber.

They then send the hoist back up. Weber said the skiers were all prepared with avalanche beacons. It helped save the lives of four of the eight.

“Pretty much all we do is thumbs up and are you okay, those kinds of things,” said Weber.

The rescue is fast-paced is done in a matter of minutes. The recovery is more methodical. Weber said taking a step back allows him to focus on the mission.

“There’s emotions invovled especially for people that participate in those kinds of activities because they can kind of put themselves in their shoes,” said Weber.

Without the helicopter, it would take several hours for anyone to be able to rescue people off the mountains, especially in the backcountry of Millcreek Canyon.

At the end of the day, as Weber said, he loves bringing people to safety.

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