The two aircraft were conducting routine training operations when they received a distress call over the international aircraft distress frequency. Both aircraft quickly and successfully located the aircraft and pilot in an inaccessible marsh area near the airport.
Upon identifying the pilot, the rescuing aircraft quickly moved into position and deployed the rescue basket with the second aircraft providing watch overhead.
“Our crew worked together flawlessly throughout the evolution,” said LT David Frick, Aircraft Commander of the rescuing helicopter. “We train year-round for all types of scenarios and that day the training paid off. We’re glad we could assist a fellow aviator in need.”
The lone pilot was transported safely to Palatka Municipal Airport where emergency services were standing by to provide assistance.
The Helicopter Maritime Strike community routinely trains for search and rescue as a secondary mission. Although neither helicopter anticipated a rescue mission that day, they are trained to render assistance safely and expertly.
HSM 70 is part of Helicopter Maritime Strike Wing Atlantic, based out of Mayport, Florida. Helicopter Maritime Strike Wing Atlantic is responsible for the material readiness and training of eight MH-60R squadrons and detachments that deploy on Atlantic Fleet aircraft carriers and air capable ships.