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Downed hiker, 61, rescued in Riverside County by helicopter

February 5, 2011 |  5:02 pm

A 61-year-old hiker who may have had a stroke was airlifted Saturday from a remote part of Riverside County by a San Diego County Sheriff's Department helicopter, officials said.

Copter 10, flown by Cpl. Tony Webber, hovered about 80 feet off the ground while Cal Fire Capt. Jim Barthol operated a hoist to lower firefighter Darren Sowa to the ground in the Aguanga area of southern Riverside County.

The hiker was secured in a "screamer suit" harness and hoisted into the helicopter. The copter then flew to a nearby airstrip where the hiker was transferred to a Mercy Air helicopter and taken to the hospital.

-- Tony Perry in San Diego