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NAS Whidbey Island SAR Finds and Rescues Civilian Pilot

Crash Location (002)

05/03/18 12:00 AM

A Search and Rescue (SAR) team from Naval Air Station (NAS) Whidbey Island rescued a civilian pilot in the Olympic Mountains, Wednesday, May 2, 2018.

The SAR crew was notified of a private plane crash in the Olympic Mountains shortly after 8:15 a.m.  Shortly thereafter the SAR crew lifted off from NAS Whidbey Island with a team of five and headed toward the suspected location of the downed aircraft. While enroute the SAR crew received the phone number of the pilot and were able to contact him to get his exact location.

The SAR crew arrived on scene just after 9 a.m. and immediately saw the crashed private plane on the side of a ridgeline and the pilot on top of a ridge approximately 175 yards above the wreckage.  The crew hoisted the pilot aboard the SAR helicopter and transported him to Olympic Medical Center in Port Angeles, Wash. for higher care.

This was the second rescue of 2018 for NAS Whidbey Island SAR, which has also conducted two searches and two medical evacuations this calendar year.

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.