HomeNewsArticle Display

Minot rescue crew saves man trapped from flood

Members of the 54th Helicopter Squadron at Minot Air Force Base responded to a search and rescue call involving a man trapped in his cabin, surrounded by rising flood water, in Savage, Montana.

Aircrew search-and-rescue team members stand in front of a UH-1N Iroquois at Minot Air Force Base, N.D., April 5, 2018. Members of the 54th Helicopter Squadron at Minot AFB responded to a search and rescue call involving a man trapped in his cabin, surrounded by rising flood water, in Savage, Montana. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jonathan McElderry)

MINOT AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. (AFNS) -- Members of the 54th Helicopter Squadron at Minot Air Force Base responded to a search and rescue call involving a man trapped in his cabin surrounded by rising flood water in Savage, Montana, March 24, 2018.

At approximately 2 p.m. the crew received a phone call requesting a hoist-equipped aircraft to respond to the scene.

“We quickly came together and thoroughly discussed our objective, fuel considerations, timing, coordinates and communication,” said Capt. Vicente Vasquez, 54th HS UH-1N Iroquois pilot. “By the time we got in the aircraft, there was no doubt in my mind that we were going to get this guy out safely.”

Vasquez, the aircraft commander during the flight, said upon their arrival they saw the individual stranded in the center of the flood waters, standing on the deck of his cabin as the water steadily rose.

“Thanks to our accurate coordinates, we found the guy really quickly,” Vasquez said. “We analyzed the winds and realized we wouldn’t be able to land next to his house and walk him to the helicopter so we needed to hoist him up instead. We then established our hoist and lowered the doctor onto the house’s deck from about a 120-foot hover.”

After being lowered onto the deck, Maj. Jared Brinkerhoff, 23rd Bomb Squadron flight surgeon, immediately assessed the situation.

“When I got to the individual I quickly evaluated him to ensure he was in good condition,” Brinkerhoff said. “My main focus was to confirm he was alright and get him onto the hoist as efficiently and safely as possible.”

Brinkerhoff, who trains with the crew at least once a month for search and rescue missions, said his familiarity with how things work during exercises reassured him that things would go well during this particular mission.

“There’s a lot of planning and communication we do during training because safety is our top priority,” Brinkerhoff said. “When it comes to real-world situations we want to have that muscle-memory of ensuring everyone knows what to do and are aware of each other’s responsibilities.”

Likewise, Vasquez mentioned the crew’s prior training and mission readiness is what guaranteed the success of their search and rescue.

“We constantly train for live hoists, search scenarios and evaluating conditions at locations we’re unfamiliar with,” Vasquez said. “We train countless hours for searches before we even get to our operational units, so we’re all familiar with the concepts of search and rescue, which really helps us out there.”

The team transported the survivor to a nearby hospital where emergency responders and the individual’s family were waiting.

“The most rewarding moment was being able to see the man’s wife picking him up at the airport after we dropped him off,” Vasquez said. “We could see on her face that she was so grateful that he was alright.”

Vasquez added that the entire operation went well due to the combined effort from several men and women across Minot AFB.

“It was awesome to go out there and execute, but we had a lot of support around us that helped make it all a success,” Vasquez said. “There were several Airmen and contractors involved with a lot of the mission planning, maintenance, fuels and aircrew flight equipment. We wouldn’t have been able to do this without them.”


Facebook Twitter
RT @AETCommand: Transforming the way we learn with technology is one of our key priorities here in the First Command! Check out the photos…
RT @AirNatlGuard: This week, @ChiefNGB visited the @PRNationalGuard at Muñiz Air National Guard Base to meet with senior leaders and discus…
RT @GenDaveGoldfein: YOU are the most important reason for our mission success. Take care of each other & preserve the connections & commun…
RT @AirmanMagazine: When it comes to acquisitions, the @usairforce has the need for speed. Equipping Airmen with the best technology start…
RT @GenDaveGoldfein: A distinct privilege to help unveil the F-117 exhibit, establishing this remarkable aircraft in its rightful place in…
RT @AirNatlGuard: “For me personally, the CAP and Air Guard go hand in hand. When I look back at any state active duty or state support we…
RT @GenDaveGoldfein: Honored to participate on a panel with my fellow Service Chiefs at the @ReaganInstitute. May our leaders of today & th…
It was just a childhood dream but it crescendoed into this #Airman becoming the only woman in the #AirForce to both… https://t.co/vzGjPe7Vri
RT @USAFReserve: Loadmaster first Reservist to complete USAF Weapons School Advanced Instructor Course (Story by the @403rdWing) #ReserveRe
.@secafoffical will speak about America’s footprint in space going forward at 5:45 EST. Watch live at https://t.co/aSlw5ceGJj
RT @DeptofDefense: LIVE: @EsperDoD delivers keynote remarks at the Reagan National Defense Forum. #RNDF https://t.co/ZXhuaTOQTm
Today, we help Col. Charles McGee, a Tuskegee Airman, combat veteran and American legend, celebrate 💯 sorties aroun… https://t.co/bcmcDr4IYW
December 7, 1941. #PearlHarbor and six other #military bases on the Hawaiian island of Oahu were attacked, beginnin… https://t.co/4GvB8yPpGV
RT @US_TRANSCOM: Take a look at @usairforce Airmen assigned to the @109thAW using their ski-equipped C-130s to deliver supplies to the Arct…
RT @GenDaveGoldfein: Thank you to Gen CQ Brown & the @PACAF team for the outstanding work organizing one of largest gatherings of Pacific A…
RT @DeptofDefense: Flying side by side gets the mission done. @usairforce and @RoyalAirForce participated in exercise Point Blank with @NAT
RT @HQUSAFEPA: Getting to see a chaplain in a remote location is a #blessing. Archbishop of U.S. Military Services Timothy Broglio recently…
RT @AFWERX: Did you catch @EdwardsAFB’s first-ever @TEDx event? There’s no doubt their theme, “Laying the Foundation for Tomorrow’s Innovat…
RT @DeptofDefense: Press ▶️ to get motivated by watching this video of exercise #MobilityGuardian19, Air Mobility Command's largest full-sp…