REDDING, Calif., July 10 (UPI) -- The victim became the rescuer when an Air Force doctor tended a California Highway Patrol officer struck by a helicopter rotor blade while rescuing the doctor.
CHP officer and pilot Brian Henderson and flight officer-paramedic Tony Stanley were dispatched from Redding to a remote area of the Shasta-Trinity National Forest to evacuate Dr. Jeremy Kilburn of Las Vegas, who sustained a broken ankle while hiking, CHP said Monday in a release.
But when Stanley was struck by the helicopter's main rotor blade, the focus of the rescue changed from evacuating Kilburn to treating Stanley for a serious head wound and getting him to a hospital.
Kilburn, 34, a critical care pulmonologist and Air Force major, had to roll down a hill to help Stanley, CHP said.
"Dr. Kilburn fought through his own pain to save the life of our officer, highlighting the dedication of our military [who] put their [lives] on the line every day for our country. Dr. Kilburn's actions were clearly above and beyond the call of duty," CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow said. "These individuals are not only heroes, they are guardian angels."
Kilburn said he hobbled on one foot to help the injured officer, the Redding Record-Searchlight reported Tuesday.
"It only took a couple minutes, but it was the most painful experience in my life," Kilburn said.