The AMKY KY-10 (Grayson) base recently completed a successful search and rescue mission with the assistance of the crew’s cutting-edge Night Vision Goggles (NVGs).
On December 7 with temperatures in the teens at 00:30 hours, KY-10 pilot Mike Ojeda was contacted by LifeCom to assist in a three-county search of a lost person involving Emergency Service Agencies from Carter, Lewis, and Fleming Counties in Kentucky . These agencies had been conducting a ground search for approximately four hours over these counties and had narrowed it down to a 10-mile area; this area mainly consisted of heavily-wooded mountainous terrain.
Due to the terrain, the agencies had exhausted all of their efforts to locate the subject. At this time it was decided by command to call in KY-10 for assistance, knowing we had NVGs to assist in the search. The subject they were searching for was traveling from West Virginia to Flemingsburg, Ky. , and reportedly had had trouble with her GPS turning onto a non-maintained road. While attempting to get turned around, the vehicle became stuck. Fortunately she was on a hilltop and did have cell phone service to call 911.
After calling 911 she was able to get her GPS to bring up the coordinates, which showed her original position to be in Carter County . After a search of that area turned up nothing, the agencies were then able to convert the GPS coordinates to get a better location, which ended up being in the Fleming/Lewis County area. After determining this closer location, emergency crews searched all roads in that area but had no success. At this time, the subject was running very low on gas and temperatures were reported to be 15 degrees.
Upon arriving in the area we made radio contact with Incident Command and received a briefing of the area. At this time a LifeCom dispatcher was currently on the phone with the missing subject so that if she was able to see us LifeCom could advise of her general location. After making a recon of the area, the crew spotted the subject’s vehicle and LifeCom advised the aircraft was directly over the vehicle and she could hear the helicopter. We then attempted to find the entrance to the road she turned on, but as this was a very thick wooded area we were unsuccessful in doing this.
Due to the heavily-wooded nature of the area, the strategy was to direct ground personnel as close as possible by vehicle. Crews were able to get within about 200 yards, at which point they proceeded into the woods by foot with the aircraft directing from the air. Within about 20 minutes rescue crews were able to reach the subject and determined she was ok and medical service wasn’t needed. KY-10 then returned to base.
The mission was a success and clearly shows the benefits of Night Vision Goggles. The crew does not believe the subject could have been located without this equipment. With the NVGs they were able to not only find the lost subject, but were also able to remain safe at all times while conducting the mission in the dark rural terrain.
About Air Methods Kentucky
Air Methods Kentucky is a full-service air medical transport system covering Kentucky and southern Indiana. Founded in 1982 as the first civilian air medical program in Kentucky, in 1995 it became the first air medical program in the state to earn CAMTS (Commission on Accreditation of Medical Transport Systems) accreditation. It operates 10 helicopter ambulances and one fixed wing ambulance throughout its region, with state offices headquartered in Lexington. With a mission of safety, quality, and integrity, Air Methods Kentucky is committed to providing its patients and medical and emergency service partners with a high level of care and professionalism. For more information about Air Methods Kentucky, visit www.airmethodsky.com.
About Air Methods Corporation
Air Methods Kentucky is owned by Air Methods Corporation (NASDAQ: AIRM), the nation’s largest provider of air medical emergency transport services and systems. The company is dedicated exclusively to air medical transport, focusing on the quality of care to patients, and safety in aviation operations. With 27 years of experience, the company transports more than 84,000 patients annually who require intensive medical care from either the scene of an accident or general care hospitals to highly skilled trauma centers or tertiary care centers. For more information about Air Methods Corporation, visit www.airmethods.com.