NAVAL AIR STATION WHIDBEY ISLAND, Wash. – A Search and Rescue (SAR) team from Naval Air Station (NAS) Whidbey Island rescued two people on Saturday, September 29.
For the first rescue on Saturday morning, the SAR crew were called to rescue a climber who had fallen approximately 40 feet near Mt. Shuksan, east of Bellingham, Wash. at an elevation of 5,500 feet.
The injured climber was hoisted aboard the SAR helicopter and flown to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle by 10:30 a.m.
For the second mission on Saturday afternoon, the SAR team flew to Snowking Mountain, southeast of Marblemount, Wash., to rescue a hiker at an elevation of 5,500 feet. The hiker was unable to beat an incoming storm back to the trailhead because of an injured knee.
When the hiker was hoisted on board the helicopter he refused medical attention so he was dropped off at the Marblemount Ranger Station and handed over to the Park Rangers and Skagit County Sheriff Department.
NAS Whidbey Island SAR has conducted 56 total missions throughout Washington State this year, including 41 rescues, eight searches and seven 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.