Navy chopper crew rescues pilot from plane crash in Olympics

U.S. Navy photo shows the plane crash site in the Olympic Mountains.

OLYMPIC NATIONAL PARK, Wash. - A Navy helicopter crew from Whidbey Island jumped into action and rescued a civilian pilot who somehow survived after crashing his plane into a mountainside in Olympic National Park.

The drama unfolded at about 8:15 a.m. Wednesday after the Navy search-and-rescue crew received a report of a private plane crash in the upper elevations of the Olympic Mountains.

Minutes later, the team of five lifted off from Naval Air Station Whidbey Island in an MH-60S chopper and headed toward the suspected location of the downed aircraft.

While enroute to the crash site, the helicopter rescue crew received the phone number of the pilot and were able to contact him to pinpoint his exact location.

The team arrived on scene just after 9 a.m. and immediately saw the crashed private plane in the snow on the side of a ridgeline. The pilot was spotted atop a ridge about 175 yards above the wreckage, where he had climbed after the crash.

The crew flew in and hovered over the injured pilot then hoisted him aboard the helicopter. He was then flown to Olympic Medical Center in Port Angeles for treatment.

Navy officials said it was the second rescue of 2018 for the Whidbey Island-based search-and-rescue team, which has also conducted two searches and two medical evacuations this year.

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