Family of Four on Ocean Cliff

Navy Rescues Family of Four on Ocean Cliff

Admin Flex Air News, Helicopters

A Navy helicopter performed a rescue on Whidbey Island in Washington. It is reported that a man and his three children were a part of the rescue. The incident occurred in the evening on Sunday, July 30, 2017.

The Navy rescue came from Naval Station Whidbey Island. The search and rescue team departed from the station a little before 6:45 p.m. local time on Sunday. The search and rescue team arrived at the location a little over half an hour after taking off from the base.

The family of four had gotten trapped on a ledge. The ledge was close to 40 feet high and located on Third Beach which is near La Push, Washington. One of the suspected causes of the four being trapped is a change in the tide. A park ranger assisted in the rescue effort, aiding in locating the family.

The family was then taken on a flight that lasted a short 15 minutes; they were flown to the Quillayute State Airport. The Quillayute State Airport is located near Forks, Washington and is a former Naval Auxiliary Air Station. The distance between the airport and Third Beach is approximately nine miles, depending on where exactly the family was located in the state park. The family then received transportation back to their vehicle.

This was the 26th rescue so far this year by the search and rescue team operating out of Naval Station Whidbey. The search and rescue team has also had four searches and 15 medical evacuation situations this year.

Whidbey Island is in what is referred to as Island Country in Washington. It is located north of Seattle.

According to their website, Third Beach is one of the “secluded areas” in Olympic National Park. It defines Third Beach as “one of the most accessible ways to experience this region’s coastal wilderness. The trail to Third Beach is well maintained and relatively flat except for the section adjacent to the beach where the bluff drops steeply to sea level.”

The beach is defined as a one-mile stretch. The website does state for visitors to “be sure to review tide and weather conditions” before visiting the location. defines the naval station by stating, “NAS Whidbey Island is the premier naval aviation installation in the Pacific Northwest and home of all Navy tactical electronic attack squadrons flying the EA-6B Prowler and EA-18G Growler.”

The Navy Search and Rescue team in Whidbey Island uses three MH-60S helicopters for their operations. According to Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, “the unit may also be used for civil SAR/MEDEVAC needs to the fullest extent practicable on a non-interference basis with primary military duties according to applicable national directives, plans, guidelines and agreements; specifically, the unit may launch in response to tasking by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center (based on a Washington State Memorandum of Understanding) for inland missions, and/or tasking by the United States Coast Guard for all other aeronautical and maritime regions, when other assets are unavailable.”