NAVAL AIR STATION WHIDBEY ISLAND, Wash. – A Search and Rescue (SAR) team from Naval Air Station (NAS) Whidbey Island rescued three hikers in the Olympic Mountain Range in Mason County Sunday morning, August 10. The hikers, all around 60 years of age, had been stranded atop the 4,848 foot cliff since Friday, August 8, and were suffering from exhaustion.
Lt. Cmdr. David Waner, the MH-60S Knighthawk co-pilot, said a four-man Mason County Sheriff’s team was on scene waiting on the cliff-side when they arrived. “They waited for us as we had to perform a one-wheel landing,” he said. “We walked the three hikers into the aircraft and transported them to an awaiting ambulance that was 15 miles south of Mount Pershing where the hikers were stranded.”
The Navy aircrew of five personnel returned to the cliff for another one-wheel landing to pick up the four members with sheriff’s office and flew them to the base of the mountain.
“There was great coordination between Mason County Sheriff’s and our SAR unit to make the rescue successful.” said Waner.
NAS Whidbey Island SAR has now launched on 13 search and rescue missions and three medical evacuations this year, resulting in 29 lives saved.
The Navy SAR unit is specifically based here for search and rescue missions for the EA-6B and EA-18G aircraft as well as other squadrons and personnel assigned to the installation. The base also has an agreement to assist Washington State with medical evacuations and search and rescue activities.