NAVAL AIR STATION WHIDBEY ISLAND, Wash. – A Search and Rescue (SAR) team from Naval Air Station (NAS) Whidbey Island conducted a Medical Evacuation (MEDEVAC) on Wednesday, November 2, 2016, from Friday Harbor Airport, on the San Juan Islands to Harborview Medical Center in downtown Seattle.
The SAR crew of six launched at 9:42 p.m. and landed at the island airport 14 minutes later. Two crewmembers were transported via ambulance to the hospital to conduct patient turnover of the 83-year-old male in critical condition. Once complete with turnover, everyone was loaded onto the helicopter and they took off at 10:48 p.m. for the 30 minute flight to Seattle.
On the way to Harborview, the SAR Medical Technician (SMT) and aircrewmen provided advanced life support to the patient while the pilots worked their way through the torrential rain and 40 mile-per-hour winds. The crew arrived at the hospital pad, where an ambulance was waiting and turned the patient over to higher care.
“The weather was very challenging this evening, but the crew did a great job of working through it while providing the care that was needed,” said SAR Crew Chief, Petty Officer 1st Class Cory Hedges. The SAR Mission Commander, Lt. Cmdr. Mica Foster added, “Our maintenance unit did a great job of preparing the helicopter for us and was crucial in coordinating ground medical support units at both locations. It was a well-executed team effort!”
This was the 11th MEDEVAC of 2016 for NAS Whidbey Island SAR, which has also conducted 12 search missions, and 22 rescue operations this year.
The Navy SAR unit operates three MH-60S helicopters from NAS Whidbey Island as search and rescue platforms for the EA-18G aircraft as well as other squadrons and personnel assigned to the installation. The base also has an agreement to assist Washington State and the surrounding areas with medical evacuations and search and rescue activities if other assets are unavailable.