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Woman rescued from barn bluff in Red Wing

A Minnesota State Patrol helicopter was used to rescue a woman from Barn Bluff’s northeast side Tuesday morning.

Red Wing Fire Department reports that the woman, 26, from the Red Wing area, was on the bluff’s north trail when she fell. Rescue crews were called to the scene at 9:48 a.m.

Two Red Wing paramedics — equipped with medical and spinal immobilization equipment — descended to the patient, Fire Capt. Jim Eppen said in a press release. However, because of the woman’s location, the paramedics were unable to get her off the bluff on foot.

A Minnesota State Patrol helicopter was dispatched, and arrived on scene at about 10:30. The helicopter landed near Red Wing Wastewater Treatment Plant to prepare for what Fire Capt. Tom Schneider said was a “long line” rescue.

Two paramedics from St. Paul — who are trained specifically in this type of rescue — were suspended from the helicopter on a long cable and then lowered to the patient. Once they reach the ground, they detached themselves from the cable.

Meanwhile, Schneider said Red Wing paramedics loaded the woman into a stokes basket to prepare her for the rescue.

“We do the initial treatment and packaging and preparation,” Schneider said.

The St. Paul paramedics then loaded her into a second bag which the helicopter lifted off the bluff. Once back on the ground, the woman was loaded into a waiting ambulance and taken to Mayo Clinic Health System in Red Wing. She was subsequently airlifted to St. Marys Hospital in Rochester.

Eppen said she was in stable condition at the time of transport.

Schneider said Tuesday’s rescue went as planned.

“It went extremely well,” he said. “In this instance, it was the perfect tool for the job.”

The Red Wing Fire Department has been training with the Minnesota State Patrol for these types of rescues for about 18 months.

“We’ve trained on this exact scenario last November,” Schneider said.

This is the first time the department used the training in an actual rescue. Schneider said he was pleased with how it went.

“It ran exactly like it was supposed to,” he said.

This is the third Barn Bluff-related incident in the last two years.

Last May, a 54-year-old Missouri man, David Locuson, fell well jogging on the bluff. He was pronounced dead at the scene. In September 2011, 75-year-old Mavis Knudson, Edina, Minn., fell from the bluff’s west overlook. She also died at the scene.

Sarah Gorvin
Sarah Gorvin has been with the Republican Eagle for two years and covers education, business and crime and courts. She graduated from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities in 2010 with a  journalism degree.