Coast Guard aircrew recognized for 2017 rescue near Crescent City

Lt. Edwin Forteza, Petty Officer 1st Class Nicholas Gardner, Petty Officer 2nd Class Jeff Bothman and Lt. Jacob Dorsey stand together following their award ceremony at Coast Guard Air Station Humboldt Bay in McKinleyville, California, March 8, 2018. The four aircrew members received medals for their rescue of a 16-year-old boy from a cliff near Crescent City, Oct. 14, 2017. (Coast Guard photo by Chief Petty Officer Brandyn Hill)

Lt. Edwin Forteza, Petty Officer 1st Class Nicholas Gardner, Petty Officer 2nd Class Jeff Bothman and Lt. Jacob Dorsey stand together following their award ceremony at Coast Guard Air Station Humboldt Bay in McKinleyville, California, March 8, 2018. (Coast Guard photo by Chief Petty Officer Brandyn Hill)

MCKINLEYVILLE, Calif. — The Coast Guard recognized four Sector Humboldt Bay aircrew members during a ceremony, Thursday, for their role in the rescue of a stranded hiker near Crescent City, Oct. 14, 2017.

Rear Adm. Todd Sokalzuk, the Coast Guard 11th District commander, presented Coast Guard Air Medals to Lt. Jacob Dorsey, Petty Officer 1st Class Nicholas Gardner and Petty Officer 2nd Class Jeff Bothman in addition to a Coast Guard Commendation Medal to Lt. Edwin Forteza.

Sector Humboldt Bay dispatched the aircrew on the evening of Oct. 14 after receiving a report of a 16-year-old hiker who had become stranded on a cliff face 300 feet above the ocean, with another 500 feet of cliff above. The helicopter was brought to a hover approximately 240 feet above the stranded hiker.

Gardner deployed from the helicopter and reached the hiker with only five feet of line remaining on the helicopter’s hoist cable. Gardner and the hiker were hoisted into the helicopter, and the rescued boy was taken to Del Norte County Airport and transferred to awaiting emergency medical services personnel without injury.

While the Coast Guard regularly conducts cliff-rescue training, the physical characteristics and height of the cliff face paired with the on-scene conditions of 20-knot winds and low visibility contributed to the complexity of the rescue.

To read the story of the rescue, click here.

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