Hiker Spun Round In Botched Viral Airlift ‘Still Very Dizzy’ Two Weeks Later

by : Julia Banim on : 16 Jun 2019 15:26
Spinning Hiker thought she was going to die.Spinning Hiker thought she was going to die.@Fox10Phoenix/Twitter

Being airlifted during a hike must be a terrifying experience. For poor Katalin Metro, such a rescue proved to be even more traumatic.


The 74-year-old hiker ended up being spun around violently in the rescue basket, after the cable which was supposed to stop any potential spinning broke.

Katalin had been hiking with her husband, George, in Arizona’s Piestewa Peak, Phoenix, when she tripped and fell face-down on a rock. She suffered a broken nose, as well as injuries to her left hand and leg.

A rescue crew arrived to airlift Katalin to safety by helicopter, giving her a protective helmet and securing her within the rescue basket. The couple could not have anticipated what was to happen next.


Once up in the air, the rescue basket began to spin. Slowly at first, but then faster and faster, with a terrified Katalin becoming a human blur.

The footage quickly went viral, with the internet sharing a collective shudder at this rescue mission gone wrong. Unsurprisingly, it would appear the experience of being on the end of that cable was just as horrifying as it looked.

You can watch the tense footage for yourself below:

Now husband George has spoke out about Katalin’s terror during the incident, revealing how his wife ‘thought she was going to die’.

Katalin – who had reportedly been spun around a total of 174 times – was able to get though the nightmare without passing out by practising ‘deep breathing exercises’.

Speaking with KPNX 12 News, George said:

The blood was going to her head and eyeballs. The first thing she said was, ‘I’m glad I’m alive,’

She thought she was going to die when she was spinning.


Speaking out about the reaction of the watching firefighters, George said:

They just — one of them said, ‘Oh my gosh,’

I think they were waiting for the spinning to stop, just like I was.

Spinning Hiker thought she was going to die.Spinning Hiker thought she was going to die.@Fox10Phoenix/Twitter

Two weeks after the incident, Katalin is reportedly still ‘very dizzy and nauseous’. This has even prevented her from getting out of bed to have therapy on her leg.

What happened to Katalin was extremely unusual. According to NBC News, Phoenix Police Air Unit’s lead pilot Paul Apolinar has stated how the unit has only encountered two instances of out-of-control spinning in 210 rescues.

Fortunately, Katalin has avoided breaking any bones following her fall and subsequent botched rescue, and it’s expected she will continue to heal.

Here’s wishing Katalin a full and speedy recovery following her ordeal.

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Julia Banim

Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.

Topics: News, Arizona, Katalin Metro, Piestewa Peak, Spinning Hiker


12 News/YouTube and 1 other
  1. 12 News/YouTube

    She thought she was going to die': Husband of spinning hiker says

  2. NBC News

    Hiker who spun uncontrollably during helicopter rescue 'thought she was going to die'