NAS Whidbey Island SAR Conducts Three Missions on Two Separate Days
NAVAL AIR STATION WHIDBEY ISLAND, Wash. -Search and Rescue (SAR) teams from
Naval Air Station (NAS) Whidbey Island rescued two injured hikers September
27 and participated in a search for a missing teenage hiker Sept. 28, 2020.
On September 27, the Whatcom County Sheriff's office initiated a request
through the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center (AFRCC) for a 61-year-old
woman who suffered a closed compound fracture to her left ankle at Baker
River. SAR hoisted the injured hiker aboard the aircraft about 3 p.m. and
flew her to St. Joseph Hospital in Bellingham.
Later that evening, SAR received a rescue request for 51-year old woman who
suffered significant injuries sustained in a fall on the Mt. Mueller Trail
Head on the Olympic Peninsula. The SAR crew hoisted the injured woman
aboard the helicopter and delivered her to Harborview in Seattle for care
just before 8:30 p.m.
On September 28, SAR received an early morning request from AFRCC to assist
Coast Guard assets searching for a 16-year-old teenage boy who went missing
on Mt. St. Helens the night prior. While the airborne units were unable to
find the lost teenager after several hours of searching, ground unit
searchers located him that evening.
NAS Whidbey Island SAR has conducted 45 total missions throughout Washington
State this year, including 33 rescues, four searches and eight medical
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.