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Manteca paramedic rescues brother in Sierra | Life

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Manteca paramedic rescues brother in Sierra
Life

OAKDALE - Troy Hawkins has been a paramedic with Manteca District Ambulance for eight years, but his most dangerous and heroic rescue came off-duty last week.

New to snowmobiling, Hawkins took up the sport to join his older brother, Travis Hawkins, and his family for a trip at Sonora Pass.

"I had worked a three-day, 60-hour shift, and I was sick with a headache," said Troy Hawkins. "I really wanted to delay going up there, but something told me I needed to go that day."

After his arrival at the Dardanelle Resort, Troy and his brother's family set up snowmobiling. At 2 p.m., the family started heading back in advance of a quickly approaching snow storm. That's when avid snowmobiler Travis hit a stake and flipped his snowmobile down a steep incline.

"I looked down the side and saw my brother 30 yards down with the snowmobile rolled over," said Troy.

Travis had a broken hip and couldn't climb up the snow on his own. Troy made the difficult decision to leave to get his brother's wife and two young kids to the resort before the storm.

"It took longer to get there than I thought. It was already dark when we hit the resort," Troy Hawkins said. 

A Nevada rescue team was called in, but weather held them back from the search. Hawkins set out alone to save his brother.

"The snow changed from fluffy to complete whiteout," Hawkins said. "I couldn't see five feet in front of me."

Battling the elements, Troy feared he wouldn't make it to his brother in time.

"My biggest worry was that we both might not be able to get out alive," he said.

Around 6 p.m., Hawkins reached his brother. He thought dragging him uphill would be too painful for Travis' broken pelvis. Instead, he stomped out stairs in the snow for Travis to crawl up.

After a painful climb and an exhausting journey through blizzard-like conditions, the two brothers made it back to the resort, where the search team was able to take Travis to a nearby hospital.

Troy said his paramedic training helped keep him calm, but paramedic or not, he would have gone back for his big brother.

By Leigh Paynter, Lpaynter@News10.net   

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