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Rescue 3 Flight Assists with Rescue of Woman Lost for 3 Days

Spokane Valley Police Department

SPOKANE – A Spokane Regional Air Support Unit (SRASU) Flight Crew responded to assist in rescuing a woman who had been missing for three days in the Inchelium area. The victim was located alive by local Search and Rescue in a canyon bottom near the edge of a river. She was airlifted to the Inchelium Medical Clinic before being transported by ambulance to an area hospital for treatment.

On April 5, 2022, Spokane Regional Air Support Unit Rescue 3 Flight Crews received a request from a Search and Rescue Team to assist with the rescue of a missing woman in the Inchelium area. The victim, in her 60’s was last seen walking away from her car at an Inchelium gas station last Saturday. She was dehydrated, weak, and suffered from possible hypothermia and pain.

The Search and Rescue (SAR) Team located her at the bottom of a canyon, on a sandbar, near the river’s edge. Rescues thought that a helicopter hoist rescue might be needed to quickly and safely transport the victim due to the remote location and terrain. The SAR Team stayed with the victim, kept her warm, and requested a helicopter with hoist capabilities to assist.

An SRASU Rescue 3 Flight Crew responded to the area. However, after assessing the terrain in conjunction with Rescue 3’s flight capabilities and the experience of Rescue 3’s Pilots, it was determined a landing near the victim’s location was possible.

Once safely on the ground, the victim was moved to Rescue 3. SRASU Helicopter Rescue Medics provided medical aid as the victim was flown to the Inchelium Medical Clinic, where she was transferred to a waiting ambulance.

The Rescue 3 Flight Crew for this incident was:

* Pilot Volunteer Chris Debs

* Pilot Don Kresse, Spokane Valley Fire Department Battalion Chief

* Crew Chief/Hoist Operator –Derek Arnold, Liberty Lake Police

Officer

* Helicopter Rescue Medic Ray Moeckel –Spokane Valley Fire Department Captain

* Helicopter Rescue Medic Casey Mayfield –Spokane Fire Department Firefighter

The Spokane Regional Air Support Unit is comprised of Volunteer Pilots, Tactical Flight Officers (TFO’s) from local law enforcement agencies, and Helicopter Rescue Medics (HRM’s), certified EMTs, from Spokane Valley Fire Department and Spokane City Fire Department.

TFO’s: Deputies and Officers from the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office, Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office, Spokane Valley Police Department, Spokane Police Department, and the Liberty Lake Police Department.

Rescue 3: A Bell UH-1H Super Huey is equipped with a long line and hoist system for short-haul rescue missions. The long line and hoist system allow our Helicopter Rescue Medics and Tactical Flight Officers to be lowered from Rescue 3 in order to retrieve a citizen that is either injured or lost in remote areas. The primary mission for Rescue 3 is to search and rescue.