Navy team from Oak Harbor rescues two hikers on Mount Baker

A Navy search-and-rescue team from Naval Air Station Whidbey Island plucked two stranded hikers from the side of Mount Baker late Tuesday.

The Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office called the Navy for help after two hikers went missing Sunday.

Tuesday afternoon, a MH-60S Knighthawk helicopter took off from the air station in Oak Harbor and rescued two hikers who were stranded at the 8,400-foot level. One of the men had a broken ankle, and had been spotted earlier by the crew of a U.S. Customs helicopter.

“It was a well coordinated, swiftly executed recovery,” said Navy pilot Lt. James Udall. “We had good communications with the U.S. Customs helicopter, and didn’t waste any time in finding them.”

Rescuers landed to prepare the hikers for a flight off the mountain, then hoisted them up and out of the snowy weather. They were then taken to St. Joseph’s Hospital in Bellingham.

The Navy identified the four other crewmen who took part in the rescue as co-pilot Lt. Casey Bruce, Petty Officer 2nd Class Christopher Wedding, the crew chief, Petty Officer 3rd Class Richmond Roy and Petty Officer Class Nicholas Tookenay.

It was the second rescue for the air station's search-and-rescue team in a week. Last week, the team was called out when two other hikers from Wendell, Mass. were trapped on a ledge for three days on Spire Point in the North Cascades.

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