Navy SAR crew rescues fallen climber on Mount Erie

A Search and Rescue team from Whidbey Island Naval Air Station came to the aid of a 39-year-old man Saturday, Sept. 29 after he had fallen 20 feet during a climb on the south side of Mount Erie, near Anacortes.

The Armed Forces Rescue Coordination Center reported at 2:45 p.m. that the man had a fractured leg with profuse bleeding and a low pulse. Reports from the Bellingham Mountain Rescue team on the scene said a doctor was able to keep the climber’s bleeding under control.

A SAR crew launched from NAS Whidbey at 3:40 p.m., arriving on scene five minutes later.

“He was located on a small outcropping, with sheer cliff face above and below,” said aircraft commander Lt. Leah Tunnell.

Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Alexander Nguyen, a medical technician, rappelled from the MH-60S Knighthawk helicopter, then secured the climber to him. The helicopter lifted both of them a short distance to an awaiting ambulance.

The SAR helicopter picked up Nguyen then returned to the air station by 4:40 p.m.


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