Air Station San Francisco crew serving the Lost Coast for Humboldt Bay

MCKINLEYVILLE, Calif.-When a Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter from Air Station Humboldt Bay crashed on the runway at Arcata Airport yesterday a crew from Coast Guard Air Station San Francisco geared up to lend a hand and a helicopter to ensure a continued service to Northern California residents.

No aviators were hurt as a result of the incident, and the cause is under investigation.

Immediately after the crash, crews from Coast Guard Air Station North Bend and San Francisco assumed search-and-rescue responsibility for the area. This is standard procedure, as it allows Humboldt Bay personnel to begin the initial investigation.

A four-person San Francisco-based crew arrived by helicopter last night to stand the search-and-rescue watch and ensure safety at sea. They received an operations brief and an area flight to help familiarize the pilots with the unique aspects of the area. The crew will return to home base once the investigation is turned over to the Commandant’s mishap board and Humboldt Bay crews are operating at full capacity on Monday.

“We brought in the extra aircrew so that they can focus on the search-and-rescue, and our people can focus on the initial investigation,” said Capt. Chris Martino, Commanding Officer of Air Station Humboldt Bay.

Due to the size of the Coast Guard and standardized training that pilots receive, air stations can swap personnel and lend support when needed.

“The Coast Guard has always been good for looking after its own,” said Lt. Roger Barr, a pilot at Humboldt Bay.

The crash, which destroyed the rotor blades and landing gear on the helicopter, had crewmembers thankful that no one was injured. Martino stated his desire to assure crewmembers and their families, that despite the risk of the operations, the Coast Guard is committed to its member’s safety.

“What we do is challenging, but we do it in a safe manner,” said Martino.

Martino is planning to hold a meeting for family members and spouses of air station personnel to address concerns and ease worry.

“I want to sit down with families,” said Martino, “I want them to know that we mitigate risk through training, repetition, and risk management.”

The town hall meeting is tentatively scheduled for next week.

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