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Las Vegas police officer falls to death in helicopter rescue of hiker

- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 24, 2013

A Las Vegas police officer was killed recently while trying to save a Mount Charleston hiker, after his helicopter tether broke and he plunged hundreds of feet into the canyon.

Officer David Vanbuskirk was still able to save the hiker, who called in his stranded position on a rock ledge on Monday, CNN reported.

Mr. Vanbuskirk lowered himself to the hiker from a helicopter, holding onto a harness and line. He then affixed the harness to the hiker, and officials in the chopper pulled him to safety. But Mr. Vanbuskirk's line detached, and he plunged to his death.

Emergency responders found his body a short time later, CNN reported.

"This officer dedicated his life to saving people and that act ultimately cost him his own life," said Sheriff Doug Gillespie told the local KVVU station.

Investigators aren't yet sure why the line detached.

Mr. Vanbuskirk was 36 years old and served on the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department for 13 years, CNN reported. His nickname was Rambo Dave, due to love of martial arts and outdoor events.

No information was released about the hiker.

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