Submitted by Naval Air Station Whidbey Island
A Search and Rescue team from Naval Air Station Whidbey Island conducted a medical evacuation from Friday Harbor Feb. 4 during inclement weather conditions.
NAS Whidbey Island received notification at about 3 a.m. for a MEDEVAC from Friday Harbor for an 82-year-old man who had suffered a significant head injury. Visibility during the entire mission was seriously degraded due to the winter storm, which forced the crew to return toward Friday Harbor at one point during the transit toward St. Joseph’s Hospital in Bellingham. At that point the crew decided to climb to a higher altitude which allowed sufficient visibility to continue the mission, arriving at St. Joseph’s around 5 a.m.
Lt. Andrew Boyle, the mission commander, said the MEDEVAC was tough due to heavy snowfall, extremely poor visibility and strong winds, but that they were able to complete it successfully by following established risk management practices.
NAS Whidbey Island SAR has conducted three total missions throughout Washington state this year, including one search and two medical evacuations.