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City of Phoenix approves $450,000 settlement in spinning hiker rescue incident

Posted at 4:27 PM, Dec 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-02 00:36:12-05

PHOENIX — The Phoenix City Council has approved a $450,000 settlement that will go to a 74-year-old woman that was being airlifted off Piestewa Peak in 2019 when the rescue basket began to spin uncontrollably.

Firefighters said at the time that the rescue basket got caught in a downwind from the helicopter and that a cable line intended to stop the basket from rotating broke during the incident.

The spinning continued for about 40 seconds as the crew tried several times to raise and lower the basket to get it out of the spiral.

"We do mountain rescues all of the time, but this particular one gathered quite a bit of attention because during the rescue, she was packaged on a hoist in a Stokes basket and she started to spin," Assistant Fire Chief Shelly Jamison said at the time.

Firefighters were able to eventually get the woman, Katalin Metro, into the helicopter and then to an ambulance nearby.

Metro reportedly had to have surgery for cervical stenosis, a spinal cord injury, because of the out-of-control spinning. She also went through weeks of rehab and her husband told KTAR News that her medical bills were about $290,000.

The City of Phoenix released the following statement Wednesday in response to the settlement:

"In this situation, the Metros and the City were able to come to an agreement of this disputed claim. The City denies any wrongdoing or liability."