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MHP trooper gets national recognition for rescuing people from downed helicopter

Montana Highway Patrol Trooper Amanda Villa
Posted at 3:40 PM, May 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-14 01:28:33-04

HELENA — Montana Highway Patrol Trooper Amanda Villa has garnered national recognition for her response to a downed helicopter in 2021.

Villa received "honorable mention" for the National Association of Police Organization's TOP COPS award.

The award recognizes local, state, and federal law enforcement for actions above and beyond the call of duty. Officers are nominated by their peers.

On June 15, 2021, there were five people aboard DNRC helicopter when it made a "hard landing" while responding to the Deep Creek Canyon Fire near Townsend. It wasn’t long until the wreckage was engulfed in flames and thick black smoke.

Fortunately, the landing happened right in front of Trooper Villa’s patrol vehicle. She quickly radioed for assistance and rushed to help. One of the crew was able to get out and informed her there were four more individuals aboard.

Video shows MHP trooper rescue DNRC helicopter crew

Villa helped pull out those still in the downed aircraft and get them away from the burning wreckage.

Dashboard camera footage shows Villa helping the crew to safety before the aircraft burst into flames.

Last July, the MHP awarded Trooper Villa the Medal of Valor, the highest award a trooper can receive, for her actions.