Satellite beacon guides Coast Guard helicopter, park rangers to injured woman in Isle Royale National Park

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CLEVELAND – The Coast Guard conducted a medical evacuation of an injured woman from Isle Royale National Park, Michigan, Monday, evening.

At about 3 p.m., a search-and-rescue coordinator at Joint Rescue Coordination Centre Trenton, Ontario received a distress beacon from a search-and-rescue-satellite-aided-tracking of a a personal locator beacon on the Northeastern side of Isle Royale National Park.

Moments later, the SAR coordinator notified the Coast Guard 9th District command center in Cleveland, which directed the launch of an air crew from Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City, Michigan, aboard a Dolphin helicopter and a crew from the Canadian Coast Guard Ship Cape Chaillon from Thunder Bay, Ontario.

Coast Guard Sector Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan issued an urgent marine information broadcast, asking anyone in the vicinity to provide assistance if able.

While the rescue crews were en route, rangers from the Isle Royale National Park Service arrived on scene and provided initial care. They also confirmed that the SARSAT signal came from the PLB registered to the injured camper.

“This was a perfect example of the effectiveness of PLBs on land or on water,” said Keith West, chief duty officer at Sector Sault Ste. Marie. “We had assistance to the injured woman within 30 minutes of receiving the SARSAT signal, which wouldn’t have happened without the PLB being set off because she was in a pretty remote area.”

The Coast Guard air crew arrived on scene with the injured woman, picked her up and airlifted her to Houghton, Michigan, where she was transferred to local emergency medical services at about 8:30 p.m.

The woman’s current condition is unknown.

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