Whidbey SAR conducts life-saving missions

A Search and Rescue (SAR) team from Naval Air Station Whidbey Island conducted an early morning rescue for a sick hiker in the Olympic National Park on July 13.

Rangers from the Olympic National Park attempted to reach the man the night prior but were unsuccessful due to inclement weather.

The SAR crew was able to reach the hiker around 6:20 a.m. and transported him to Olympic Medical Center in Port Angeles.

The day prior, the SAR team rescued a 22-year-old hiker who suffered significant injuries from a fall near Mount Stuart at an altitude of approximately 5,000 feet.

Once the crew safely extricated the injured man, they flew him to Pangborn airport for transport by ambulance to Central Washington Hospital in Wenatchee.

The SAR crew’s medical technician and inland rescue aircrewman accompanied the injured man to the hospital while the rest of the crew refueled the helicopter.

Two days prior to the rescue near Mount Stuart, another SAR crew rescued a 62-year-old man who injured his ankle on the Pacific Crest Trail. After retrieving the man at an altitude over 6,900 ft., they transported him to an ambulance at Omak.

Naval Air Station Whidbey Island SAR has conducted 28 total missions throughout Washington State this year, including 17 rescues, three searches and eight medical evacuations this year.

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 AFRCC (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.