Coast Guard rescues two firefighters in the Trinity Alps Wilderness Area

An MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Humboldt Bay lowers a rescue basket to a 47-foot Motor Lifeboat crew during training in Eureka, Calif., March 7, 2018. Coast Guard helicopter crews routinely conduct training with small boat crews to maintain their qualifications and so that in the event of a medevac request from a boat or ship, the crews are proficient in their lifesaving techniques. (Coast Guard photo by Chief Petty Officer Brandyn Hill)

An MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Humboldt Bay. (Coast Guard file photo by Chief Petty Officer Brandyn Hill)

MCKINLEYVILLE, Calif. — The Coast Guard rescued two injured firefighters from a ridge near Canyon Creek in the Trinity Alps Wilderness Area early Friday morning.

At 9:14 p.m. Thursday the U. S. Forest Service requested the Coast Guard’s assistance with the rescue of two injured firefighters. The firefighters had been hit by falling rocks and reportedly sustained serious head, back and leg injuries while working in steep terrain on the Middle Fire.

Coast Guard Sector Humboldt Bay launched an MH-65D Dolphin helicopter crew who flew to the area and located the injured firefighters within 10 yards of the fire line in a clearing that the fire crew on scene had cut in the forest to allow for an extraction. The helicopter crew approached the extraction zone and made a high-altitude, tree-top hoist from 240 feet, the helicopter’s maximum hoist range.

The injured firefighters were flown to Weaverville airport and transferred to emergency medical services.

“This rescue was extremely challenging due to the proximity to an active fire, the high elevation and the rugged terrain,” said Lieutenant Commander Derek Schramel, the pilot in command of the mission. “I’m very proud of how our crew worked together with our fire service and law enforcement partners in Trinity County to save these two men.”

Petty Officer 1st Class Graham McGinnis, a rescue swimmer at Coast Guard Sector Humboldt Bay, hoists injured firefighters from a forest fire in Northern California in the early morning hours of Sept. 6, 2019. As seen in video from his point of view, McGinnis arrives at the scene, is hoisted down, and prepares and attends to two injured firefighters as they are hoisted into a Coast Guard H65-D Dolphin helicopter. (Video by U.S. Coast Guard Sector Humboldt Bay)

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