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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Two New Firsthand Search & Rescue Stories

Now featured on 

Devil's Dues by Bruce Hansen....

An AirMed Skycare helicopter crashes into the ocean off the coast of Maine with a burn patient, nurse, paramedic and pilot aboard. Coast Guard rescue vessels had to turn back before reaching the search area, due to all hands being ill from rough seas. Then, members of the Cape Elizabeth Water Extrication Team (WET) were called out.

Author Bruce Hansen was one of the WET team members who fought exhaustion and hypothermia that night to rescue the surviving victim of the crash. He writes, "We were out there and insanely focused.  At 0130 hours, the Coast Guard Duty Commander radioed to our handheld, duct-taped to the helm. The WET Team had completed its assigned search pattern and was advised to stand down.  After all this? The Coast Guard classified the crash victims as missing and presumed dead. We did not think they had to be dead men."

Read the full story on Bruce Hansen's blog, A Voice Cries Out in the Wilderness

Rescue on Rosalie Peak by Maverick

Maverick (a.k.a Prakesh), Alyson, Kevin and a black lab named J.B. started up Colorado's Rosalie Peak on the morning of February 11, 2011, under blue skies. Just before they reached the summit five hours later, the forecasted snowstorm and high winds moved in. And, on the way down, Alyson fell, breaking her leg and pelvis and, as was later discovered, suffering from internal bleeding. 

Fortunately, there was cell phone service on the mountain, and a call for help was made. UNfortunately, the rescue helicopter that was initially dispatched and landed at the victim's location had to suddenly take off without her, due to the storm. Long, cold hours would pass before a ground unit from the Alpine Rescue Team could reach Alyson and her friends, and then would come the "descent from hell," as Maverick puts it.

He writes, "I stood and watched the chopper take off in abject dismay. I had had barely enough time to digest the fact that they were leaving her. I admit I was afraid to turn and look at Alyson’s face as the chopper took off… for two reasons: (1) I was plain chicken to witness her disappointment which I knew was far greater than mine and (2) I did not want her to see in my face that I lost hope for a quick second; it would have killed the overall mood I was hoping to create during this day… a positive mindset was the biggest weapon we had at this point since we could be in for a long wait." 

Read the full story on

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