A Search and Rescue (SAR) team from Naval Air Station (NAS) Whidbey Island conducted a rescue Sunday, September 9, and a medical evacuation (MEDEVAC) Monday, September 10, 2018.
Early in the morning on Sunday, SAR rescued three, uninjured male climbers stuck on a 9,300-foot-high ledge of Mount Stuart, approximately 30 miles southwest of Leavenworth, Wash. The climbers were unprepared for the plummeting nighttime temperatures and were beginning to succumb to hypothermia. Once the climbers were hoisted onboard the helicopter they were taken to Boeing Field, where they landed just before 3:30 a.m.
A SAR team then flew to Lopez Island mid-morning Monday and picked up a 70-year-old male patient suffering from a possible stroke. He was flown to higher care at Harborview Medical Center.
NAS Whidbey Island SAR has conducted 47 total missions throughout Washington State this year, including 34 rescues, eight searches and five 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.