A Search and Rescue (SAR) team from Naval Air Station (NAS) Whidbey Island rescued a male hiker with an injured ankle near Glacier Peak the evening of Thursday, August 1, and a female hiker with a head injury on Sunday, August 4.
On Thursday, the SAR crew arrived at the patient’s location near Glacier Peak at an elevation of about 5,400 feet by 7:45 p.m. Two crewmembers rappelled from the helicopter to prep the patient. Once the patient was ready for transport the SAR crew hoisted the injured hiker and the two crewmembers aboard the helicopter.
On Sunday, the crew located the second individual on a barren ridgeline at an elevation of approximately 6,400 ft. around 3 p.m. During this rescue, the helicopter landed south of the injured hiker and dispatched two crewmembers to assist her. After providing medical assistance on scene, the crewmembers helped her to the aircraft.
The SAR crews transported both patients to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.
NAS Whidbey Island SAR has conducted 26 total missions throughout Washington State this year, including seven searches, ten rescues and nine 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