Coast Guard rescues dehydrated woman from sand dunes near Muskegan, Mich.

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CLEVELAND — The Coast Guard rescued a severely dehydrated woman from the sand dunes at Hoffmaster State Park near Norton Shores, Michigan, early Saturday afternoon.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Robin Pietschmann, an aviation survival technician at Air Facility Muskegan, Mich., assists emergency medical technicians during a transfer of a dehydrated patient at the Muskegan County Airport, June 28, 2014. A Coast Guard air crew hoisted the woman from a sand dune after she called for help. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Lt. Cmdr. Steve McCullough)

Petty Officer 2nd Class Robin Pietschmann assists emergency medical technicians during a transfer of a dehydrated patient at the Muskegan County Airport, June 28, 2014. Coast Guard photo by Lt. Cmdr. Steve McCullough

At about 12:40 p.m., an air crew aboard a Dolphin helicopter from Coast Guard Air Facility Muskegon, Michigan, a seasonal forward operating base of Air Station Detroit, diverted from an area familiarization flight to assist officers from Muskegon County Sheriff’s Department and emergency medical technicians from Norton Shores Fire Department with a patient suffering from dehydration and other heat related illnesses. Local responders could not evacuate the woman by land due to the rough terrain.

The Norton Shores Fire Department directed the air crew into position, then the air crew lowered a rescue swimmer, while hovering 140 feet over the bowl of the sand dune, to assess the woman’s condition. The air crew then hoisted the woman using a basket with two trail lines and then hoisted the swimmer, who provided initial care in the helicopter. The air crew delivered the woman to EMS at Muskegon County Airport.

“This was a great team rescue effort and we are always willing to help out our fellow first responders because it is the safety of the patient or victim that matters most,” said Lt. Cmdr. Steve McCullough, the rescue helicopter pilot.

“Whether on water or land, the same rules apply to people who find themselves in an emergency situation,” said McCullough. “Always have a plan and let somebody know where you are going and when you plan on being back; always carry a communication device like a cell phone or radio; use the buddy system; and carry or wear reflective material and other signaling devices. Also if you are going to be in the heat keep yourself hydrated, particularly if you will be participating in strenuous activities.”

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