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Media Life: Victim's-eye view captures daring high Sierra rescue

By: Gus Thomson/Media Life
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When you think law-enforcement footage, it’s usually out-of-control, shirtless males being cuffed on “Cops.” But YouTube and a very portable digital video camera have captured something unique – a mountain rescue shot with a chest-mounted GoPro camera filmed as a Placer County Sheriff’s Office helicopter crew plucked a stranded couple of hikers from the back end of Castle Peak. Instead of the rescuers filming the action – it was the people they were able to hoist up and fly to safety in an area that could have taken days to get into on foot and wasn’t accessible by snowmobiles or ATVs. The rescue occurred Sunday and the grateful pair – Sacramento’s Daniel Stone and Katie Eckert – soon had the footage up on YouTube. Two videos are now streaming on YouTube, showing first Eckert being strapped into rescue gear and lifted to the sheriff’s Falcon 30 and then Stone being flown out. Stone was wearing the GoPro camera strapped to his chest and about 11 minutes of the successful rescue are available for viewing. Falcon 30 pilot Van Bogardus said being filmed from the ground was a first for him in a decade of chopper rescue operations. It was far from a simple rescue, with the helicopter hampered by the heat and elevation, with high, gusting winds, he said. The two hikers had called on a cell phone for rescue help after Eckert broke a snowshoe and exhaustion set in as they tried to make their way out. After an overnight stay high in the wilderness, they were rescued at about 10 a.m. Sunday. State film has Cool connection The plucky independent movie “Lords of Flatbush” was an out-of-left-field hit back in the mid-1970s and the State Theater will be showing the film July 21 and 24. What makes it even more interesting for Auburn-area audiences is the chance to see Perry King – who divides his time between his home in Cool and work as actor in Los Angeles – in one of his most well-known roles. King won’t be able to make the showing. He’s slated to be in Los Angeles that day for a theater reading. But he’s filmed an interview on his “Lords of Flatbush” experiences that will be shown before and after the screening. King's castmates included a pre-“Rocky” Sylvester Stallone, and a white-hot Henry Winkler, who had just hit it big with “Happy Days” as The Fonz. “Lords of Flatbush” was King’s fourth film and gave him a chance to wield a Brooklyn accent and play the tough guy in a 1950s setting. King said he hasn’t seen the film for decades but recalls much of the dialogue and action was improvised during rehearsals before the cameras rolled. “Sly” Stallone’s acting was remarkable and he carved out a larger role for himself as the production rolled on, King said. King’s role as Chico, allowed him to show off his motorcycle-riding skills and the onscreen chemistry he had developed with good friend Susan Blakely. That chemistry actually allowed King to win a role that Richard Gere was originally tabbed for. King had auditioned for the role eventually played by Winkler but the movie’s novice directors Stephen Verona and Martin Davidson liked what they saw and Gere – not the star he would become – lost the part to King. Showtimes for “Lords of Flatbush” are 7 p.m. July 21 and 2 p.m. July 24. Media Life’s Gus Thomson can be reached at gust@goldcountrymedia.com or (530) 852-0232.