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Behind The Badge: Life Flight rescue paramedic provides heroic helicopter help from above

Behind the Badge

BRIGHTON RESORT (ABC4 News) – Imagine that you’re seriously injured on a mountain cliff. In that situation, you may need help from above and the answer to your prayers may just come in the form of Intermountain Life Flight Rescue Paramedic Lieutenant Jason Sorensen.

A patient on a rocky outcropping needs urgent medical care and there’s nowhere for the chopper to land so down comes a paramedic lowered by a cable but this is not a real emergency. It’s a training exercise at Brighton Ski Resort that Lt. Sorensen is evaluating. The patient getting hoisted up to the helicopter is ABC4 videographer Ed Wilets.

It’s all in a day’s work Lt. Sorensen, a 20-year veteran paramedic of the Davis County Sheriffs Department who moonlights with Life Flight.

“The main thing we’re thinking about is how we’re going to get them out just as quickly and as safely as possible,” Lt. Sorensen tells Behind The Badge. “There are times when I’ve thought ‘This is a really tight spot’ or makes me a little uncomfortable.”

He says no two rescues are exactly alike.

“Every one of them is a little bit different,” he said. “I mean your terrain is different. Sometimes it’s steep. Sometimes it’s rocky. A lot of rock climbers who have fallen sometimes we’re real close up against the rocks and I mean our pilots are amazing. They’ll put you in spots that you never thought you could get.”

One of those places was on Wolf Mountain in Eden where Lieutenant Sorensen extracted a critical patient a few years ago.

“It was a real tight spot in really really steep terrain and the trees were real high. We had to use a lot of cable to insert me,” he said. “It was just technical and I was just happy that once they inserted me they were able to come back and get me out with my patient.”

Now Lt. Sorensen has moved into the co-pilot’s seat, getting certified to fly Life Flight planes for long-range patient transports and organ donation missions. Despite the lives he and his team have saved, he remains, ironically, down to earth.

“I wouldn’t call myself a hero by any means. I feel lucky that I’m allowed to do this. I love this job,” he said. “The people that work for us are awesome and I love being around them…It’s good to have a job where you feel that you feel like you’re kind of making a difference in people’s lives and it’s exciting.”

Lieutenant Sorensen is not slowing down anytime soon. He’ll be flying even more missions when he joins Life Flight full time in 2020.
And no photographers were harmed during filming. The Life Flight team brought Ed off the mountain without a scratch. 

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