Cop Rescues Hiker, Falls to Own Death

David Vanbuskirk had problem with his gear

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Jul 24, 2013 2:33 AM CDT

(Newser) – A Las Vegas police officer pulled off a successful rescue but lost his own life in the process. David Vanbuskirk rode a helicopter to the aid of a hiker stranded on a rock ledge; after he was lowered on a harness, he linked the hiker to rescue gear. But while the hiker was successfully pulled onto the chopper, something—it's not certain what—went wrong with Vanbuskirk's own equipment. He fatally fell into a canyon; other rescuers later retrieved his body.

"This officer dedicated his life to saving people and that act ultimately cost him his own life," says a sheriff. Vanbuskirk, 36, had served with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department for 13 years and was the first to die on duty since 2009, CNN reports.

David Vanbuskirk, 36.
David Vanbuskirk, 36.   (AP Photo/Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Dept.)
Clark County Sheriff Doug Gillespie wears a shrouded badge as he gives details about the death of Las Vegas Metropolitan search and rescue police officer David Vanbuskirk.
Clark County Sheriff Doug Gillespie wears a shrouded badge as he gives details about the death of Las Vegas Metropolitan search and rescue police officer David Vanbuskirk.   (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)
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