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Whidbey SAR Rescues Hiker Near Mount Baker

17 October 2022

From Naval Air Station Whidbey Island Public Affairs

NAVAL AIR STATION WHIDBEY ISLAND, Wash. - A Search and Rescue (SAR) team from Naval Air Station (NAS) Whidbey Island rescued a 55-year-old female hiker with a heat related issue on the Chain Lakes Trail northeast of Mount Baker on Oct. 15, 2022.

The SAR crew received the call to rescue the hiker in the mid-afternoon and took off by about 3 p.m.  The SAR crew found the hiker’s group and on scene crews from Whatcom County Fire & Rescue Districts 19 and 14 at about 3:30 p.m. near a stand of trees on the slope of Mount Hermann and two SAR crewmembers were inserted about 30 meters up the trail to avoid subjecting the ground party to severe rotor wash. After preparing the patient for transport and repositioning to a spot for a clearer hoist, the SAR crew hoisted the patient aboard the helicopter and began rendering patient care.
The patient was transported to St. Joseph Medical Center in Bellingham, Wash. a few minutes after 4 p.m.
Naval Air Station Whidbey Island SAR has conducted 34 missions this calendar year, which includes nine MEDEVACs, 19 rescues, and six searches.
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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