Coast Guard, mountain rescue unit train to save lives

PORT ANGELES, Wash. – Members of the Coast Guard and Olympic Mountain Rescue came together Saturday for a joint training exercise at Air Station Port Angeles.

Olympic Mountain Rescue is a volunteer organization that assists with search and rescue missions in rugged wilderness areas involving high angle rock, snow and ice. Their mountaineering abilities allow them to get to areas that are difficult or impossible to reach with ground-based rescue vehicles. Once the team reaches a stranded or injured hiker, they are able to guide a helicopter crew or other rescuers to the site.

The HH-65C Dolphin helicopters that operate out of Air Station Port Angeles received upgraded engines, June 2006, making them ideal for the high-altitude rescues that the Olympic Rescue Unit often find itself taking part in. The “Charlie” model engines were acquired as part of the Coast Guard’s Integrated Deepwater System, a program aimed at modernizing many Coast Guard assets. As of March 21, 75 of a planned 84 HH-65C helicopters have been delivered throughout the Coast Guard. The remaining nine HH-65C helicopters are now scheduled to be delivered ahead of the published delivery date of late June 2007.

More information about Olympic Mountain Rescue, including a membership application, can be found at http://olympicmountainrescue.org/.

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