Coasties Rescue Two Injured Firefighters from the Fireline

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U.S. Coast Guard Sector Humboldt Bay rescued two seriously injured firefighters from a ridge in the Trinity Alps Wilderness Area early Friday morning, plucking them from a spot just yards away from the fire line and pulling them to safety.

At about 9:15 p.m. Thursday, the U.S Forest Service asked for the Coast Guard’s help rescuing the two firefighters who had been hit by falling rocks, leaving them with head, back and leg injuries near the Canyon Creek area of the Middle Fire. The Coast Guard launched its MH-65D Dolphin helicopter crew, who flew to the area and located the injured firefighters about 10 yards away from the fire line in a clearing the firefighters’ crew had cut to make way for the rescue.

A screenshot from a video capturing the U.S. Coast Guard's rescue of two injured firefighters from the Middle Fire.
  • A screenshot from a video capturing the U.S. Coast Guard's rescue of two injured firefighters from the Middle Fire.
The helicopter crew was ultimately able to hoist the firefighters to safety from 240 feet above, its maximum range. Both injured firefighters were flown to the Weaverville airport, where they were transferred to medical personnel.

“This rescue was extremely challenging due to the proximity to an active fire, the high elevation and the rugged terrain,” said Lt. Com. Derek Schramel, the pilot in command of the mission, in a press release. “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.”



See the full press release copied below:

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.”

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