02/18/2019: "Navy, Once Again Lends A Hand"
A Search and Rescue (SAR) team from Naval Air Station (NAS) Whidbey Island conducted Medical Evacuations (MEDEVAC) for two separate patients from Orcas Island February 12, 2019.
The SAR team were notified on the evening of February 12, 2019 that a three-year-old child with a broken femur on Orcas Island needed a MEDEVAC. Civilian airlift assets were unable to conduct the mission due to weather.
The SAR crew launched at approximately 8 p.m. for Orcas Island.
After landing at Orcas, and while bringing the child and her father onboard, an ambulance arrived with a patient who was exhibiting stroke symptoms. The SAR crew brought the second patient onboard and a medic to assist, which made it necessary to off-load equipment. Both patients were transported to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle at which point they returned to Orcas Island to transport the extra medic and collect the off-loaded gear before returning to NAS Whidbey Island.
NAS Whidbey Island SAR has conducted six total missions throughout Washington State this year, including one search and five medical evacuations.
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.