NAS Whidbey SAR rescues hiker in Olympic Mountains

A Search and Rescue team from Naval Air Station Whidbey Island rescued a 33-year-old man in the Olympic Mountains in the early evening Saturday, Sep. 23.

The injured man, who was hiking with a female hiker, had fallen down a slope in the afternoon on a trail near Lake Constance, which is southwest of Quilcene. The female hiker had to hike two and a half hours down the trail to a point where she could communicate the emergency.

The SAR team took off from NAS Whidbey Island at approximately 6:50 p.m., heading for the reported location of the injured hiker. Once on location, the SAR crew had to rappel two crewmembers north of the injured hiker’s location because of low clouds. The crewmembers hiked more than an hour to the injured hiker’s reported location to begin their search. While the SAR helicopter returned to NAS Whidbey Island to refuel the crewmembers on the ground were able to find the injured hiker.

Upon their return from refueling, the clouds over the patient’s location had receded. The patient was in a location that made hoisting difficult due to the height and thickness of the tree canopy, thereby necessitating a repositioning of the aircraft. After helping the crew to get the helicopter repositioned, the SAR crew hoisted him and the two crewmembers aboard the helicopter for transport to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.

Naval Air Station Whidbey Island SAR has conducted 33 total missions throughout Washington State this year, including ten searches, thirteen rescues and ten medical evacuations.