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Whidbey Island SAR Rescues Hiker in Okanogan County

14 August 2023


A Search and Rescue (SAR) team from Naval Air Station Whidbey Island rescued a 54-year-old man in Okanogan County on Sunday, August 13, 2023.
A Search and Rescue (SAR) team from Naval Air Station Whidbey Island rescued a 54-year-old man in Okanogan County on Sunday, August 13, 2023.
The NAS Whidbey Island SAR team launched around 6:40 Sunday evening to respond to a hiker suffering from a heat related condition on the Windy Creek Trail at an elevation of approximately 5,500 ft. The SAR crew arrived at the Windy Creek trailhead just after 7:30 p.m. and spotted the ailing man’s party on a slope with sparse tree coverage and some dead trees from a previous wildfire.
The SAR crew decided to insert rescue personnel about 50 meters down trail from the group’s location to avoid rotor wash on the patient and potential brown out conditions.
The SAR team were able to hoist the patient aboard and deliver him to St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Bellingham where they landed just before 8:45 p.m.
Naval Air Station Whidbey Island SAR has conducted 26 missions this calendar year, which includes 1 MEDEVAC, 4 searches and 21 rescues.
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.

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