The U.S. Coast Guard medevac’d a young ATV driver on Kodiak Island this weekend.
According to a Coast Guard press release, the 15-year-old girl was driving an all-terrain vehicle out in Chiniak Sunday, when weather was clear and in the 70s.
The ATV driver suffered a serious injury around mile 37 on the Chiniak highway just past Roslyn beach and needed to be medevac’d.
Lt. Grant Langston, the aircraft commander for the rescue team, says he and the crew were getting ready to do a training flight when they received the phone call. He explains they switched gears immediately.
“As we were getting ready to go, we were changing out into our dry suits, we heard the EMS vehicles going past the hangar on the road headed outbound. We could hear their sirens and the troopers and whatnot. We continued out to the aircraft, started up, took off, and then as we arrived on the scene, we saw there was already one EMS there, at least as far as I could see.”
He says they lowered their rescue swimmer down to the ground so that he could do an on-site medical evaluation.
“He informed us later that the local EMS team was already working on her and getting her arm packaged up, getting it treated and giving her pain medication, things like that, which he was very appreciative of because we don’t carry the level of care that an EMS vehicle would have, so he would have had less options for pain management.”
Langston says crews always take a rescue swimmer along on water and land missions. He says they’re trained for basic EMT care and are prepared for the dynamics of “rotor wash” – the turbulent airflow the rotors create when a helicopter is hovering.
“And that can be very challenging to work in, including little things like a person’s shoes could fly off or sunglasses or things like that, so the swimmer’s an expert in knowing how to strap a patient in so that we can transfer them safely up so that clothes or towels or blankets don’t fly off them into the rotor system or damage the aircraft or things like that.”
Langston says they lowered the basket down and picked up the injured girl, the girl’s mother, and a member of the EMS team. He says they then transported the patient to waiting medical personnel in the city.
Seventeenth district command duty officer, Lt. Joseph Schlosser, said in the Coast Guard press release that it was the second ATV accident Coast Guard crews had responded to in the past week.
Correction 7/19/2016: An earlier press release reported that the girl in question was 17-years-old. The public affairs office at U.S. Coast Guard base Kodiak has since reported that the girl was 15-years-old.