Air Station Traverse City records busiest week of rescue season

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. – U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City has recorded its busiest week of this summer’s search and rescue season.

In a five-day period the Coast Guardsmen have logged more than 50 flight hours on 12 search and rescue cases resulting in four lives saved.

On Friday a single helicopter crew rescued three people in two separate cases: rescuing two overdue fishermen who were clinging to their capsized vessel near Alpena, Mich., and finding a missing kayaker in Torch Lake, Mich. On Wednesday helicopter crews airlifted and medically evacuated a 42-year-old male from the Burns Harbor, a 1,000-foot laker. The vessel was 60 miles east of Marquette, Mich., in Lake Superior.

During this period, the air station nearly doubled their weekly average flight time.

“In a typical five-day period, we would fly approximately 30 hours of training missions and routine patrols,” said Capt. Stuart Merrill, commanding officer of Air Station Traverse City. “This week we almost doubled that time and it was solely dedicated to the search and rescue mission.”

This five-day period took the helicopter crews from Marquette, Mich., to Sheboygan, Wisc., and as far south as Chicago and several other locations in between. But this is normal operations for the air station, whose area of responsibility encompasses five states, three of the Great Lakes, and sometimes Canada.

“I am tremendously proud of the dedicated efforts of our aviation crews,” said Merrill. “During the past week, they have committed unbelievable time and energy protecting the safety of the mariners and beachgoers throughout the Great Lakes region.”

“Our ethos of ‘Safe Search and Rescue Response Readiness’ is embodied in their actions each and every day and particularly during this demanding past week,” he added.

Air Station Traverse City operates five HH-65C Dolphin helicopters and assists with search and rescue services throughout the Great Lakes Region encompassing more than 94,000 square miles of water and 10,900 miles of shoreline.

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  1. Chuck Delory says:

    I am a Coast Guard veteran who served 1974 to 1979. I am looking for archives of search and rescue missions during that time. We used to fill out SAR incident reports. Are there records of these reports somewhere? Thanks in advance for any help you can provide in this matter.

  2. Chuck Delory says:

    Sorry — I forgot to mention I am looking specifically for SAR missions in Boston Harbor between 1974 and 1979. Thanks.

  3. cgnews says:

    I’m sure there are records, just a matter of finding them. You might want to try contacting D1 Public Affairs and see they can point you in the right direction.