Katalin Metro was hiking off Piestewa Peak near Phoenix on June 4 when she apparently tripped along the trail, became disoriented and needed help getting back down. A firefighting helicopter was sent to the rescue. They wrapped Metro like a mummy and strapped her in a so-called “stokes basket,” which the helicopter started to lift – until something went wrong.
The woman in the stretcher is 74 years old!!!! HOW DID SHE EVEN SURVIVE WITH THAT SPINNING! pic.twitter.com/XawBwnDGx8— KEEM 🍿 (@KEEMSTAR) June 5, 2019
The stretcher began to spin, slowly at first, then faster and faster until she looked like a human chopper blade. The spinning lasted for the whole minute before it started to slow down.
“I kept watching and hoping, just hoping that something would stop it,” Metro’s husband, George, said on Phoenix-based radio station KTAR-FM.
“As the basket comes up and hears 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,” said Paul Apolinar, chief pilot of the police aviation unit said at the time.
“She suffered no ill effect from that spin other than being a little bit dizzy,” fire department Capt. Bobby Dubnow said in June.
However, in her claim filed Tuesday, Metro said she had told rescuers that she did not want to be airlifted — and that she suffered physical, emotional and psychological injuries as a result of the ordeal.
A doctor at John C. Lincoln Medical Center said Metro had swelling and bruising in the eyes, blood in her auditory canals and soft tissue swelling in parts of the head, according to the claim. She also required surgery for a spinal cord injury, the report said.
Metro later began outpatient therapy, according to the claim, which tagged her medical costs between June and July at over $290,000. She was transferred to a rehab center at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center on June 11, discharging about two weeks later.
“Katalin Metro’s injuries were caused or contributed to by the negligence, negligence per se, gross negligence, carelessness and/or other fault on the part of the City of Phoenix,” the claim said.
The couple is reportedly willing to settle the claim for $2 million. Phoenix officials said they cannot comment due to pending litigation.