TRAVERSE CITY -- Guardsmen with Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City made a lifesaving rescue Tuesday on Beaver Island.
An 86-year-old woman who was on the island needed immediate medical attention and so the Coast Guard came in to save her.
The cloudy weather conditions made it nearly impossible for a plane to get into the airport and a boat would have taken too long to get the woman to the main land, so the Coast Guard used a helicopter to rescue her.
“Things went smoothly, we worked as a good crew,” said aviation survival technician, Derek Johnson.
Around 2 p.m. a full crew of two pilots, a rescue swimmer and a flight mechanic rescued an 86-year-old woman who needed immediate medical attention on Beaver Island.
“These are the kinds of situations that helicopter pilots think about with the low ceilings, how are you going to fly the aircraft, how are you going to keep the aircrew safe and the aircraft safe,” said Air Station Traverse City public affairs officer Pablo Smith. “So you have to plan it out and know how to handle the aircraft in different situations.”
Medical evacuations aren't common for guardsmen in Traverse City. Within the last year they've only had about five, but cloudy weather conditions made it difficult for anyone else to get onto the island.
“In this particular situation the weather at Beaver Island and the nature of the stress of the patient prevented them from being taken by boat to mainland and it was difficult for an aircraft to get into the island to extract the patient to the hospital so we used our low level flying route to get into the airport at Beaver Island,” said Smith.
“The ceiling started coming down so it was pretty challenging weather to get into Beaver Island,” said Johnson.
They said it's important they train for these situations because it can make the difference between life and death.
“If the situation is where we're the only ones that can get in there we need to know how to do it safely so we train for it and we got it done to make sure we know how to do it right,” said Smith.
The woman was taken to Munson Medical Center but her condition at this time is unknown.