A Search and Rescue (SAR) team from Naval Air Station (NAS) Whidbey Island conducted a medical evacuation (MEDEVAC) from Friday Harbor to PeaceHealth St. Joseph Hospital in Bellingham, Wash., on Wednesday, November 14, 2017.
The SAR alert crew received an urgent call for help from the Friday Harbor medical clinic for an unconscious patient in critical condition that needed to be transported to a higher level of care. Due to the inclement weather conditions other agencies were unable to transport the patient. The NAS Whidbey Island crew departed just after 8:15 p.m. and arrived at the Friday Harbor airport shortly thereafter. Once the patient turnover was completed the crew immediately flew the patient to PeaceHealth St. Joseph Hospital in Bellingham, arriving just prior to 10:00 p.m.
This was the 17th Medical Evacuation (MEDEVAC) of 2017 for NAS Whidbey Island SAR, which has also conducted seven Searches and 36 Rescue missions delivering 67 lives to a higher level of care.
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.