State Spotlight: South Carolina

Guard Helicopter Crew Rescues Fallen Hiker

The Army National Guard has a reputation as any governor’s go-to team to activate in natural disasters like floods and wildfires, but sometimes a team with special skills can be called in to help out with problems of a smaller scale.

Members of the South Carolina Helicopter Aquatic Rescue Team (SC-HART) responded to a call last week to rescue a hiker stranded on a mountain ledge at Table Rock State Park, west of Greenville, S.C.

The hiker was airlifted from the mountain at about 9:25 a.m. after reportedly being stranded for several hours after falling about 70 feet.

According to crew reports, Pickens County emergency management authorities requested support from SC-HART, comprised of members of the South Carolina Army National Guard and civilians, when rescuers on-site realized that a helicopter was going to be the most effective means of reaching and extracting the hiker.

Members of the South Carolina Helicopter Aquatic Recue Team (SC-HART) responded to a call to rescue a hiker stranded on a mountain ledge at Table Rock State Park Jan. 5, 2017. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by SSG Roberto Di Giovine)

“It was key to use a helicopter to rescue the hiker. Due to difficult conditions, the rescuers on the ground couldn’t reach him,” said Chief Warrant Officer 4 Tripp Hutto, UH-60 Black Hawk Helicopter Pilot from the 2nd Battalion, 151st Aviation Regiment. “We could see from the air, it looked like the closest [rescuers on foot] could get to him was about 80 feet.”

After the call for support was received through State Emergency Management channels, both the civilian and military components of SC-HART rescuers were simultaneously activated.

The South Carolina Army National Guard UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter and crew deployed from McEntire Joint National Guard Base in Eastover, S.C., picking up a team of rescuers from Pickens County at the South Carolina National Guard’s Army Aviation Support Facility 2 in Greenville to help with the rescue.

Once the hiker was on board, the SC-HART helicopter landed near a pre-positioned ambulance on-site, where the hiker was released to emergency medical support personnel.

“The rescue went smoothly and was conducted without incident,” said CW4 Hutto. “The SC-HART team works well together due to partnerships developed through past training and real world events, including the statewide flooding of 2015. This allowed for a seamless rescue.”

So if you’re interested in a job where you can come to the rescue in your community, check out what the Army National Guard has to offer: part-time service that’s close to home, more than 150 career fields, and great benefits like money for college. Check out our job board for more information on careers and contact a recruiter today.

From an original article by SSG Roberto Di Giovine and CPT Brian Hare, South Carolina Army National Guard, which appeared in January 2017 in the news section of NationalGuard.mil.

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