Rich Lady Being Rescued on Mountain Trades Slow EMS for Private ChopperS

After getting lost and hurting her ankle during a Mount St. Helens hike with her teen daughter, a Texas woman phoned the local emergency services to come and save them.

But as she was being carried down the 8,300-foot volcano in a Stokes rescue basket, 48-year-old Nancy Allen, a retired veterinarian from Katy, decided things were going too slowly for her, and used her cellphone to hire a private helicopter to take her and her 18-year-old daughter the rest of the way down.

Allen and her unnamed daughter had reached the summit yesterday, but lost the trail on their way back, something that's "very easy to do on Mount St. Helens because of its asymmetrical shape," according to Skamania County Undersheriff Dave Cox.

She called for help, and a team of six experienced hikers from the sheriff's office and Fire District 13's Volcano Rescue Team were dispatched to recover them.

It took the rescuers less than two hours to locate Allen and her daughter, and they determined that her injuries, sustained after she tripped over a rocky outcropping, did not warrant an expensive airlift.

She was placed in the litter, and carried down about 2,000 feet before asking to stop.

"She didn't want to walk down the trail and she didn't want to ride in the Stokes litter," Cox told the Houston Chronicle.

Allen told her rescuers she preferred to fly the rest of the way down, and was given the number of a private helicopter firm, which sent a chopper to pick her up.

Five of the six rescuers were left behind to climb down the remaining 6,000 or so feet.

"I've never heard of this happening," Cox told The Oregonian. "I don't know how much it cost her, but I'm sure it was a spendy proposition. I know I wouldn't be able to afford it."

According to pilot Peter Emerson, the short lift set Allen back a cool $1,300.

[photo via AP]