HAI Convention News

Texas DPS Earns Collins Rescue Award

 - January 30, 2020, 8:51 AM
This Texas Department of Public Safety AS350B3, equipped with a Collins Goodrich hoist was instrumental in saving the lives of four people during a harrowing flood rescue in Oct. 2018.

The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) was presented with this year’s Collins Aerospace Rescue of the Year Award, which is given to one of the company's Goodrich hoist customers who perform an especially daring helicopter rescue. The Texas DPS was recognized for rescues it carried out during a flood in Junction, Texas, in October 2018.

The town had received more than a foot and a half of rain in less than a day, causing the Llano River to breach its banks and flood the surrounding area, including a recreational vehicle campground, overturning trailers and causing people to be swept away or left stranded in trees. DPS 107 crewmembers Cpt. Shawn Stephenson, Lt. Jeff Evans, and Texas Highway Patrol Tech. Sgt Steven Tippett conducted water rescues in an Airbus AS350B3 and saved the lives of four people, including one woman who spent nearly five hours in the river and drifted 23 miles before she was rescued after multiple attempts.

“In all my 21 years in law enforcement, including 11 years in the Aviation Operations division, these rescues rank among the most technically difficult ones that I’ve ever seen our crews conduct,” said Texas DPS Maj. Jim Rohrman. “During the flood, the water reached speeds of nearly 30 mph and four residents lost their lives. If not for the quick response, timely decision-making and technical expertise of Stephenson, Evans, and Tippett, it’s likely that number would have been even higher.”

Collins (Booth 6333) is one of the leaders in the helicopter hoist industry and the company estimates it has more than 7,000 airborne hoists installed throughout the global fleet on commercial and military platforms.

“Collins Aerospace is pleased to recognize Texas DPS with this year’s Rescue of the Year Award,” said Cory VanBuskirk, general manager of Collins’ hoist and winch business. “As in the case of the Llano River flood, we recognize that our hoists play an integral role in the search and rescue operations of our customers, and we are committed to providing them with the industry’s most advanced products to support their life-saving missions.”