A Search and Rescue (SAR) team from Naval Air Station (NAS) Whidbey Island conducted five rescues over the weekend beginning Friday, August 10, through Monday, August 13.
On Friday, a SAR team picked up a female patient suffering from a severe reaction to a bee sting on a sand bar on the Queets River about 9 miles southwest of Mount Olympus. She had been administered a dose of Epinephrine, but needed further medical attention. The SAR team transported her to Olympic Medical Center in Port Angeles, Wash., by approximately 11:00 a.m.
Later that afternoon, a SAR team picked up a hiker who had fallen and suffered a broken leg and head injuries near Olympic National Park. The injured hiker was transported to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, Wash. just before 4 p.m.
The next morning, Saturday, August 11, a SAR team rescued two climbers stuck on a cliff near Goat Wall in Okanogan County, northwest of Winthrop. The climbers were hoisted aboard the helicopter and, since they were uninjured, they were dropped off at Lost River Airport, just north of Mazama, Wash. around 7 a.m.
That afternoon a call came in for the rescue of a hiker with a broken leg on Mount Stuart in the Cascade Mountains. The injured hiker was successfully hoisted onto the aircraft and delivered a little after 2 p.m. to an ambulance waiting at Pangborn Memorial Airport in East Wenatchee.
Following the weekend rescues, SAR received a call early on Monday, August 13, requesting assistance for a hiker who had experienced significant impact trauma from falling boulders at 6,500 feet near base camp at Mt. Baker. The hiker had spinal injuries and was hypothermic. The injured hiker was transported to Harborview Medical Center by about 6:30 a.m.
NAS Whidbey Island SAR, has conducted 41 total missions throughout Washington State this year, including 29 rescues, eight searches and four medical evacuations.
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.