>First career SAR hoist goes well

>(Click on the photo for video of the rescue)
I arrived for Sunday duty and quickly realized that we were down two helicopters. The watch captain explained to me that Mt. Redoubt had erupted again and those helicopters had been deployed to King Salmon pending possible ash fall in Kodiak. At that time I found out I would be flying at 2100 that evening and went to ready crew berthing to get some rest. I spent the majority of the day resting up for that evening’s flight. Just as I was walking in the door to get dressed out for that nights airways trainer my pager went off telling me there was to be a medivac 30 miles to the north. I ran into one of my pilots just as the SAR alarm went off. At that point I got dressed and went into maintenance for our pre-flight brief. We discussed the injury, vessel type and whether or not we would put the rescue swimmer down. We took off by 2025 with the flight corpsman on board.

Upon arriving on scene my first observation was the large tower mounted on the aft deck, along with about 20x20ft of fish in the deck holding bay and large antennas on the pilot house. The risk of hoisting to the small deck around the fish holding bay and between the pilot house and aft deck tower was to high. However the boat had a bow with only an anchor line down the center, making it the largest clear area and the most practical hoisting site. We decided that we would put the swimmer down followed by basket with trail line recovery of the victim.

As soon as the victim was brought out on deck it was evident that he was in bad shape, and as he rose up in the basket the severity of his injuries became evident. Once he was inside the cabin the corpsman tended to him at which point I hoisted PO Stoecker up and we departed the scene. PO Stoecker went to work assisting the corpsman. It was clear that his injuries weren’t stabilized as there was still bleeding throughout the flight home. We safely flew home keeping the survivor in the basket to avoid unnecessary movement. Upon landing at Air Station Kodiak we transferred the victim to the waiting ambulance.

This being the first SAR case (that involved hoisting) I’ve gone out on, I was very happy with the how well it went. After 3 years spent in Kodiak I am satisfied, departing in two months, having been directly involved in what we are here to do.

Pety Officer 2nd Class Zachary Atchison
Aviation Maintenance Technician
MH-60 flight mechanic