Phoenix City Council approves settlement for woman who spun during botched helicopter mountain rescue

The Phoenix City Council approved a settlement for a woman who spun more than 200 times from a helicopter during a Piestewa Peak mountain rescue in 2019.

The woman, 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. Metro suffered swelling and bruising all over her body during the botched rescue attempt.

She also claimed she suffered from pain, discomfort and anxiety.

The city council on Dec. 1 approved a settlement of up to $450,000 – it's unclear what amount was agreed upon and approved.

Metro and her husband previously filed a lawsuit for $2 million, accusing the rescue crew of negligence.

According to the complaint filed by her lawyer in June 2020, she suffered multiple injuries on the left side of her body. The lawsuit accused the city of Phoenix of acting in a reckless and negligent manner, also saying that her medical expenses for recovery would continue into the future.

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