Assistant Sheriff Joseph Lombardo reports that Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Officer David Vanbuskirk, 36, fell to his death late last night during the rescue of a stranded hiker on Mount Charleston just outside the Las Vegas near Mary Jane Falls.

The Associated Press reported that Lomardo made the following comment, “We’re a big family, a close family, and this is going to be trying on us for quite a while, we will survive it. We’ll come back together, and hopefully in my lifetime, it will never happen again.”  

Officer Vanbuskirk was lowered to the stranded hiker by helicopter as the terrain was too rough to access by any type of vehicle or by foot.  The hiker, who was not injured, was successfully lifted into the helicopter as Officer Vanbuskirk remained below on the cliff.   Officer Vanbuskirk could not be located at the rescue point a short time later and a search commenced for him.  Officer Vanbuskirk was located a short time later at the bottom of the cliff.

Reports did not mention how far Officer Vanbuskirk fell.  A joint investigation into the incident is being conducted by the National Transportation Safety Board and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Officer Vanbuskirk was a 13 year veteran of the Las Vegas Police Department.  He served with the search and rescue team for four years.  Vanbuskirk formerly served in the Army and had family members serving with the Clark County Nevada Fire Department.  His colleagues reported him as, “always smiling and always motivated.”

Officer David Vanbuskirk, gone but never forgotten.   EOW: Monday, July 22, 2013


“Graphic created by Fellow Officer Rose Borisow GraFX”

To learn more: