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NAS Whidbey SAR Rescues Two Climbers in Cascade Mountains


06/20/18 12:00 AM

A Search and Rescue (SAR) team from Naval Air Station (NAS) Whidbey Island rescued two people on Forbidden Peak in the Cascade Mountains, Tuesday, June 19, 2018.

The SAR team of five was notified of two climbers needing rescue on Forbidden Peak late that evening. When they arrived at the location just before midnight the team found the two climbers, who were flashing white lights, near a vertical rock face at the base of a snow shoot.

Because of the temperature and high altitude, the SAR pilots made several passes to check power to ensure they could lift and transport the climbers from the mountain safely.  Both climbers were successfully hoisted onto the helicopter and transported to higher care at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, Wash.

NAS Whidbey Island SAR, has conducted 15 total missions throughout Washington State this year, including eleven rescues, eight searches and one medical evacuation.

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.