'Couldn't have gone any better:' Wisconsin National Guard members rescued hiker at Devil's Lake

BARABOO -- Just a month after conducting a training mission on how to rescue an injured person at Devil’s Lake State Park in Baraboo, Wisconsin, the Wisconsin National Guard did the real thing Saturday, Sept. 28, according to a news release from the Wisconsin Department of Military Affairs.

“It couldn’t have gone any better,” said Baraboo Fire Chief Kevin Stieve in the release. “It was very similar to the training.”

Stieve said a couple was hiking the rocky face of the east side of the lake when a large stone dislodged, pinning a female hiker’s leg against another large stone.

First responders arrived and were able to free the woman’s leg. While her leg was not broken, she was unable to walk. A decision was made to request air transport for the injured hiker, the release said.

“Carrying her out would have been dangerous,” Stieve said in the release. “We had to stay with her for a while, but moving her would have taken just as long. That waiting helped keep our responders safe.”

About an hour after the Baraboo Fire Department was dispatched to Devil’s Lake, the Army Aviation Support Facility #1 in West Bend, Wisconsin received the mission to hoist the injured hiker. By 3:05 p.m., the Black Hawk crew left West Bend, and arrived at Devil’s Lake by 3:39 p.m. The hiker was in the helicopter by 3:56 p.m.

“They were not on the scene very long at all,” Stieve said in the release. “It was all very smooth and efficient.”

Chief Warrant Officer 4 Dirk Brandt, the pilot for Saturday’s mission, said in the release the U.S. Army requires hoist training every 90 days. He added weather conditions were perfect for Saturday’s mission, and communications between the responders on site was excellent. The Aug. 29 training helped as well.