Navy crews conduct search and rescue missions in Olympic National Park

Two of the four rescues conducted over the holiday weekend were done in the park.

WHIDBEY ISLAND — Of the four missions that Search and Rescue teams from Naval Air Station Whidbey Island conducted within the past week, two were in Olympic National Park.

All were done over the long Memorial Day weekend.

A climber fell into a crevasse in the Brothers area of the park south of Quilcene on Sunday morning.

After searching for 20 minutes, the crew located the hiker, rappelled down to him and hoisted him out, said Michael Welding, public affairs officer for Naval Air Station (NAS) Whidbey Island.

He was transported to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.

The hiker, one of a group of four, is not identified because of privacy concerns, said Welding and park officials.

He had broken several bones, according to park personnel.

On Monday, the search-and-rescue (SAR) crew received another call, this one from the Olympic Mountain Rescue team in the Olympic National Park for a patient suffering from severe abdominal pain, possibly sepsis.

The SAR crew successfully hoisted the patient from a small clearing near the North Fork of the Quinault River and transported him to Harborview.

He also is not identified by either the park nor the Navy.

Hospitals will not provide conditions of patients without names.

The two other missions were near Winthrop and in Elliot Bay, Welding said.

The Winthrop rescue was on Goat Wall at an altitude of 2,600 feet Friday, Welding said. An unidentified 36-year-old woman suffered a compound ankle fracture.

After a 40-minute transit, the crew arrived and had two crew members rappel down with the litter to retrieve the injured hiker before transporting her to Harborview.

Lt. Andrew Boyle, the senior mission commander, said the Goat Wall rescue was challenging due to the terrain, gusty wind conditions, and the patient’s condition.

“The terrain the injured woman was on would have made it very dangerous for ground rescuers to get her out on a litter,” Boyle said.

Monday’s search of Elliot Bay was a joint effort with the Coast Guard after a reported red flare.

“The search proved uneventful,” Welding said.

NAS Whidbey Island SAR has conducted 13 total missions throughout the state this year, Welding said.

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This story was first published in the Peninsula Daily News.


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