Whidbey SAR rescues hiker near Snoqualmie Pass

Naval Air Station Whidbey Island’s Search and Rescue (SAR) unit evacuated a 47-year-old injured man from steep and rocky terrain near Snoqualmie Pass at 11:30 p. m. on Thursday, July 18, 2013.

The injured man fractured his right leg while hiking with a friend at an elevation of 4,800 foot south of Snoqualmie Pass on Silver Peak Mountain.

NAS Whidbey Island Operations Duty Office was notified of the incident around 9 p.m. and arrived on scene just after 10:15 that night.

After arriving on scene, Second Class Petty Officers Timothy Hawk and Brent McIntyre lower a litter and rappelled to the scene to retrieve the injured hiker. King County Sheriff’s Office Mountain Rescue was already on scene and assisted with the rescue pickup.

“Mountain Rescue was on scene and they were extremely helpful in preparing the injured hiker for transport,” said McIntyre, a hospital corpsman. “We had to move the hiker about 100 yards on a litter up some very steep and rocky terrain to a location more suitable for a hoist recovery.”

While overall visibility was mostly clear, it was still a challenge to find an ideal pickup point according to Lt. Leah Tunnell, the helicopter aircraft commander.

“There were low clouds in the area throughout the valleys, but the location for rescue was clear,” Tunnell said. “The terrain was extremely steep and rocky, with downflowing winds over a western ridgeline that limited the locations for a hoist recovery.”

After hoisting the injured man aboard the MH-60S Knighthawk, the SAR crew flew him to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle and arrived home safely at 12:45 a.m.

In addition to Tunnell, McIntyre and Hawk, a Naval Aircrewman (Helicopter), the other crewmembers making up the rescue team were Lt. Cmdr. Fred Morrison, the aircraft co-pilot, and Naval Aircrewman Helicopter Second Class Melissa Dixon, the crew chief.

SAR has performed 2 medical evacuations, 5 rescues and 2 search missions this year.

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