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A Search and Rescue (SAR) team from Naval Air Station (NAS) Whidbey Island rescued an injured hiker near Colchuck Lake in the Cascade Mountains east of Mount Stuart,Thursday, June 30, 2022.
While on a training mission the NAS Whidbey Island SAR crew received an alert Thursday night to rescue a 28-year-old male with severe head injuries. After a quick refuel and reconfiguration of the aircraft the SAR crew launched on the mission from Ault Field by 10:25 p.m.
The SAR crew coordinated through the Chelan County Sheriff’s office to have the hiking group use white strobe lights to mark their location and they were subsequently found quickly. Two crew members were rappelled to the hiking crew, about 50 yards from the patient’s location. After approximately 11 minutes of prep time the patient and crew were hoisted onto the SAR helicopter.
The patient was transported to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle where they arrived just before midnight.
Naval Air Station Whidbey Island SAR has conducted 15 missions this calendar year, which includes eight MEDEVACs, six rescues, and one search.
The Navy SAR unit operates three MH-60S helicopters from NAS Whidbey Island as search and rescue/medical evacuation (SAR/MEDEVAC) platforms for the EA-18G aircraft as well as other squadrons and personnel assigned to the installation. Pursuant to the National SAR Plan of the United States, the unit may also be used for civil SAR/MEDEVAC needs to the fullest extent practicable on a non-interference basis with primary military duties according to applicable national directives, plans, guidelines and agreements; specifically, the unit may launch in response to tasking by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center (based on a Washington State Memorandum of Understanding) for inland missions, and/or tasking by the United States Coast Guard for all other aeronautical and maritime regions, when other assets are unavailable.
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