A Search and Rescue (SAR) team from Naval Air Station (NAS) Whidbey Island conducted a Medical Evacuation (MEDEVAC) from Port Townsend in the early morning hours of Thursday, November 29.
The SAR team received a request to transport the 80-year-old male victim of a pulmonary embolism from Jefferson Healthcare Medical Center in Port Townsend to Harrison Medical Center in Bremerton. Due to weight limitations of the hospital helicopter landing pad, the patient was transported to Jefferson County International Airport where he was transferred onto the SAR helicopter.
The helicopter lifted off shortly after 1 a.m., heading to Harrison Medical Center in Bremerton. After studying the Harrison Medical Center and surrounding area the SAR crew elected to land in a field at a nearby school to transfer the patient to an ambulance. Jefferson County and Bremerton Fire Departments coordinated with the SAR crew to clear a landing zone and have the ambulance waiting.
The patient was transferred to the ambulance for ground transport to Harrison Medical Center at approximately 1:40 a.m.
NAS Whidbey Island SAR has conducted 66 total missions throughout Washington State this year, including 43 rescues, eight searches and 15 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.