The aerial rescue of two trapped Marin County firefighters last week was even more daring than it looked.

“The windier it is, the harder it is to stay in place, especially at night when you can’t see much on the ground,” said helicopter pilot Paul Bradley. “You just have to focus.”

Bradley and tactical flight officer Chris Haas both summoned all their focus during the mission.

“Lifting them up and out of there, it was absolutely a sigh of relief,” said Haas, at the Sonoma County Airport where Henry-1 is based.

The call, last Friday night, came directly to their hangar.

“We have multiple firefighters trapped,” recalled Haas, and he recognized some panic in the dispatcher’s appeal.

“It put the hairs up on the back of my neck instantly, that this is the real deal, and it’s not going to be good.”

Henry-1 is the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Department search and rescue helicopter, a Bell 407 GXP.

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