While most of us struggle to parallel park our cars, Terry Mercer, the helicopter pilot in the video above, is landing his ride on a jagged rock pinnacle in order to save injured climbers. Mercer is a pilot for the Utah Department of Public Safety and has a combined 34 years of flying experience, including nine flying rescue missions in Utah.
His latest high-risk pickup was in the Red Mountain area of Uthah's Washington County where climber Jim Williamson had become stranded. The original plan was to drop rescuers off so that they could hike 30-minutes to reach Williamson, but Mercer had a better I idea. “I looked at that pinnacle, and I though: ‘I could land on that pinnacle.’” So he did, about a dozen times, in order to bring rescuers back and forth. In doing so, he drastically shortened the amount of time it took to evacuate Williamson.
Mercer was nonchalant when asked about the inherent danger of the mission. “Hovering over the back end of a destroyer, picking up personnel with the destroyer rocking back and forth is more unnerving than this was,” he said, referencing the 25 years he spent flying for the Navy.
- Nat Geo Expeditions