A Search and Rescue (SAR) team from Naval Air Station (NAS) Whidbey Island conducted a medical evacuation (MEDEVAC) from Eliza Island on Sunday, Jul. 1, 2018, to Peace Health St. Joseph Medical Center in Bellingham, Wash.
The SAR team was at a Canada Day event at Point Roberts for static display support when they received notification at about 11:00 a.m. that a 73-year-old male required transport to higher care from a residence on Eliza Island, west of Bellingham. While Bellingham Fire Department personnel had responded by boat it was deemed too risky to transport the patient in the high winds over rough water from Eliza Island to Bellingham.
The SAR crew landed in a field near the residence and once the patient turnover was complete they proceeded directly to St. Joseph Medical Center where the patient was transferred to a higher level of care.
This was the second MEDEVAC of 2018 for NAS Whidbey Island SAR, which has also conducted four searches and 14 rescues, delivering 20 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.