Helo crews to the rescue, twice in one week


(Airman Edwin Alcaraz/NAVY)
Photo illustration of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 25 operations.

It was a big week for Navy rescue helicopter crews in the Pacific, who responded to two incidents, transporting six injured civilians to medical facilities.

First, a crew with Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 25 rescued four people whose plane had crashed Sunday while flying over the Northern Mariana Islands.

The squadron’s Rescue 10 team spotted the single-engine plane in the jungles of Tinian, after a call from Coast Guard Sector Guam alerted them that the plane had missed its scheduled arrival in nearby Saipan.

The rescue crew hiked through the jungle to recover four survivors, who were transported to a hospital for care.

“We were very fortunate to spot a small airplane in such a thick jungle environment,” said Lt. David Macey, an HSC-25 pilot, in a Navy release. “It is very rewarding to know that we were able to render assistance to the survivors, however it was humbling and unfortunate to not be able to save all of the personnel.”

It was unclear how many passengers died in the crash.

Two days later, helos assigned to the cruiser Cowpens rescued two Korean container ship crew members off the coast of South Korea.

The ship launched Detachment 6 from Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light 49, the “Red Stingers.” Once they reached the container ship Hanjin Kao Hsiung, they discovered that two crew members had suffered third-degree burns to the hands and face from an on-board fire.

The crew members were medevaced ashore for treatment.

“I’m extremely proud of the entire team,” said Capt. Gregory W. Gombert, commanding officer of Cowpens, in a Navy release. “A lot of coordination took place in a short amount of time and it was done expeditiously and in a very professional manner. Assisting distressed mariners is almost second nature for us. We constantly train and maintain our readiness whenever the call is needed.”


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