On July 22, 2013 at approximately 8:54 p.m. the LVMPD Dispatch Center received a call from an individual stating he had become stranded on a rock ledge while hiking in the Mary Jane Falls area
of Mount Charleston. A Metro Search and Rescue helicopter responded to the scene, and at approximately 10:10 p.m. located the victim. Because of the dangerous terrain it was determined the victim would be rescued by utilizing the helicopters internal rescue hoist to lower a Search and Rescue Officer down to the victim.
The victim and rescuer would then be hoisted together back into the aircraft. Officer David Vanbuskirk, 36 years of age, was lowered to the victim. Officer Vanbuskirk attached a rescue device to the victim and signaled for the helicopter to begin hoisting them up into the aircraft. As the pair was being hoisted into the helicopter Officer Vanbuskirk somehow became detached from the hoist line, falling into the canyon below.
The victim remained attached to the hoist cable, and was safely hoisted into the aircraft. Additional rescue personnel and rescue aircraft immediately responded and located Officer Vanbuskirk. The exact distance Officer Vanbuskirk fell is still under investigation, however the fall was non-survivable and he perished on impact. Officer Vanbuskirk had been employed by LVMPD since October, 1999, and had been assigned to the Search and Rescue Section since February, 2007.