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Air Force helicopter crew rescues man injured in wilderness

A UH-1N "Huey" hoists a Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape Specialist Training student at a landing zone north of Fairchild Air Force Base, Wash.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Michael Darvis)

A UH-1N "Huey" hoists a Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape Specialist Training student at a landing zone north of Fairchild Air Force Base, Wash., in this file photo. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Michael Darvis)

Staff Sgt. George Gonzalez practices water hoist procedures from a UH-1N "Huey" assigned to the 36th Rescue Flight at Fairchild Air Force Base, Wash.  Sergeant Gonzalez is an independent duty medical technician assigned to the 36 RQF as a flight medic in support of Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape Specialist Training and the U.S. Air Force combat survival school.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jacob Bragg)

Staff Sgt. George Gonzalez practices water hoist procedures from a UH-1N "Huey" assigned to the 36th Rescue Flight at Fairchild Air Force Base, Wash., in this file photo. Sergeant Gonzalez is an independent duty medical technician assigned to the 36 RQF as a flight medic in support of Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape Specialist Training and the U.S. Air Force combat survival school. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jacob Bragg)

FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. -- A helicopter crew dispatched from the 36th Rescue Flight successfully rescued a 77-year-old man critically injured in the Selway Wilderness near Mink Peak, Idaho, yesterday. 

At approximately 5 p.m. Monday, the 36th RQF dispatched a UH-1N "Huey" to the coordinates provided via satellite phone by two male companions of the injured man. 

At 6:48 p.m., the crew arrived on scene but could not locate the man due to adverse weather conditions and dangerous mountain terrain. The landing area was surrounded by steep, rocky terrain camouflaged by snow from the previous night at an elevation of 7,300 feet. 

The crew was forced to stay the night in a nearby town and continue the rescue at 8:30 a.m. the next morning. 

Independent-duty medical technician Tech. Sgt. Patrick Hunt descended 170 feet by hoist and stabilized the injured man. The crew then extracted Sergeant Hunt with the patient via stokes litter safely to the helicopter. Once the man was secured, the crew departed for Lewiston Air Field where they were met by paramedics who transported the man to St. Joseph Regional Medical Center. The two male companions were not injured and were able to get out on foot. 

The rescue crew for yesterday's mission was: 

- Capt. Micah West, aircraft commander
- Capt. Christopher Johnson, co-pilot
- Tech. Sgt. William Wren, flight engineer
- Tech. Sgt. Patrick Hunt, independent-duty medical technician 

Yesterday's rescue was the 617th for the 36th RQF, which is part of the 336th Training Group and attached to the U.S. Air Force Survive, Evade, Resist and Escape school -- an Air Education and Training Command tenant unit at Fairchild.
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