Las Vegas police officer dies during hiker rescue effort (VIDEO)


A Sea King helicopter from HMS Gannet fly though the Hidden Valley in Glen Coe while on patrol March 24, 2007 in Ayr, Scotland.The crew are based at Prestwick airport in Southwest Scotland, and provide a 24-hour military and civilian search and rescue service across a large area of Scotland.


Jeff J Mitchell

A Las Vegas police officer was killed Monday night as he participated in the rescue of a hiker at Mount Charleston, after he became detached from helicopter rescue equipment and fell to his death.

Officer David Vanbuskirk was a search and rescue veteran who was experienced in performing successful aerial operations, wrote the Las Vegas Review Journal. 

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The 36-year-old officer had been sent to rescue the solo hiker with four other Las Vegas police colleagues. He had attached the lost hiker to the helicopter and they were both being lifted to the aircraft when Vanbuskirk became detached from the apparatus.

It remains unknown if the equipment malfunctioned, or how far he fell during the accident, notes Fox5. 

"This officer dedicated his life to saving people and that act ultimately cost him his own life," said Sheriff Doug Gillespie to media of the accident, according to Fox5Vegas. 

Friends expressed their sorrow at the loss of the man nicknamed "Rambo Dave" for his brave personality.

"David was one of the most sincere people and I just can't believe it," said Michael Connolly, a long-time friend, to KTNV news station. 

A blog post on the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Search and Rescue Unit website paid tribute to a valued colleague.

"Dave was an extraordinary individual who was well-respected by his colleagues. He was a leader, a friend, and played an integral role in our SAR family. It is an understatement to say that he will be greatly missed," they wrote.