1 year after mountain rescue went wrong, woman at center of rescue files lawsuit against City of Phoenix
PHOENIX - It's been one year since the video of a mountain rescue gone wrong went viral, and now, the woman seen spinning from a helicopter is suing the City of Phoenix.
"She was like (swings back and forth), you know?" said a hiker, in a FOX 10 news report filed in 2019. "Like, it was real bad. It was scary."
The woman, since identified as Katalin Metro, reportedly tripped somewhere along the trail, became disoriented and needed help back down. Metro, who is in her 70s, was wrapped up and strapped in a so-called "stokes basket," and gently lifted off the ground. That was when she started to spin, slowly at first, then faster and faster.
"There are times when we bring the helicopter up from the ground, it will start to spin, so we have a line attached to the basket to help prevent that," said Paul Apolinar, a chief pilot with the Phoenix Police Department, during a news conference following the rescue. "As the basket comes up and nears the helicopter, the basket will start to interact with the rotor wash of the helicopter. That is when it tends to spin. It wants to windmill."
Video of the helicopter rescue has been viewed millions of times online since it happened.
The lawyers for George and Katalin Metro filed a claim back in November for $2 million, now, the official complaint against the city is accusing the rescue crew of negligence.
In late November, FOX 10 spoke with George Metro, who said Katalin is "getting better every day." Now, a complaint filed by the couple’s lawyers explains Katalin's request after her fall on the trail.
"Katalin expressed to City of Phoenix first responders that she did not want to be taken off the trail by helicopter. Despite these findings and the plaintiff’s wishes, the City of Phoenix paramedics/firefighters made the decision to transport Katalin off the trail by helicopter air rescue," read a portion of the documents related to the lawsuit.
In the documents, the city is also accused of gross negligence.
"The City of Phoenix was on notice of the potential to have a spinning event like this one, which caused injury and damages to plaintiffs if it failed to comply with safety standards," a portion of the documents read.
Metros’ lawyers say Katalin now suffers from pain, discomfort and anxiety.
"Katalin Metro has incurred reasonable expenses of necessary medical care, treatment, and services, and will be required to incur such expenses in the future," according to a portion of the documents.
It is unknown how much the Metros are suing for in damages at this time. FOX 10 has reached out to the City of Phoenix for comment.