Idaho National Guard performs multiple search and rescues in the backcountry
Steve Dent, KIVI
Published at | Updated at
BOISE (KIVI) — The Idaho National Guard has the capability to fly either their Blackhawk or Lakota helicopters into the Idaho backcountry for search and rescues.
On Thursday morning, a team responded to a remote area in the Idaho City area after a person riding an ATV crashed, the other two rescues from the past week included hikers.
The Idaho National Guard used a hoist recovery and flew these three people out of the backcountry to receive the medical care they needed.
“We don’t get the information too much on the why’s or the how’s, we get the approval to go and we are always willing to go help,” said Army National Guard pilot Nathan Spaulding. “It is really rewarding.”
A rescue begins with authorities in rural Idaho calling for extraction, then if crews are available, they start planning out the logistics.
“Location is an important one because we got to get to the right spot and sometimes that can be a challenge,” said Army National Guard pilot Mitchell Watson. “We want to know things like elevation, temperature, how many are injured, and the nature of their injuries.”
While communicating with ground crews the two pilots assess the situation. During these rescues the hoist operator lowers the medic down to the injured person.
“Then the medic will typically package the patient, put them in some type of litter,” said Watson. They will call us back then we will hoist out the patient and the medic.”
This four-person crew relies on training to hone their skills to ensure a successful mission in some of the most challenging terrain in Idaho.
“We are making a difference, and that’s why I think I like it,” said Watson.
We learned about these rescues from the Idaho National Guard’s Facebook page, it’s a useful resource for following what these men and women do daily.