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Metro sergeant recounts final rescue with Vanbuskirk

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Updated: 7/29/2013 10:10 pm
LAS VEGAS (KSNV & MyNews3) -- News revelations about the night officer David Vanbuskirk died was told by his Sergeant Gavin Vesp who said Vanbuskirk's body remained on the mountain while the rescued hiker was rushed to treatment.

What they found on return to the mountain is heartbreaking.

“Being with him on that mountain was the greatest honor of my life,” said a tearful Vesp who spoke at Vanbuskirk’s funeral. He went on to talk about his feelings for the chopper crew who saw the officer fall from his cable to his death.

The officer falling more than a 1,000 feet after plucking a hiker off a ridge in Mount Charleston. The hiker rushed to the hospital and leaving a grim return for search and rescue.

"Our first priority to go back and get Dave," Vesp said. "Those men took us back to go get our brother put helicopter where it does not fit

Sgt. Vesp is one of two search and rescue officers to cable down to where Vanbuskirk's body landed. A scene that will torment the memory of Sgt. Vesp forever.

“As I got over there I knew that there was nothing more we could do for David in this life,” Sgt. Vesp said. “I remember touching his face. I remember helping him close his eyes for the last time. Being on that mountain with him was the greatest honor of my life.”

A great honor lived--by those who served with Officer Vanbuskirk. His Sgt. calling for everyone to not pass judgment on the hiker whose life was Vanbuskirk's last to save.

“Well why was that person there? Hike to that spot? I’m here to tell you he wouldn’t want them to say that,” Vesp said.

David, he says, was at peace. At peace in his death, at peace in his work and at peace saving lives with no thought for his own.

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