A Maryland State Police helicopter crew performed a hoist rescue for three people who ran their recreational vessel aground and were inaccessible for rescue by other methods on Sunday, April 22 in Baltimore.
Shortly before sunset on Sunday, the U.S. Coast Guard Sector National Capital Region contacted the Operation Control Center for the Aviation Command (SYSCOM) to request an aerial extraction of three boaters, one of whom was suffering health problems. The rescue location was the middle branch of the Patapsco River, immediately south of Interstate 95 in Baltimore City.
Trooper 1, which is based in Middle River, MD, was dispatched and immediately began preparing for a hoist rescue. Upon arrival, an aerial reconnaissance verified the boat was in an inaccessible location by surface resources due to mudflats and shallow swampy water conditions.
After several unsuccessful attempts to rescue the stranded citizens by boat, it was decided a hoist extraction of all occupants could be performed safely and was necessary. Traffic on I-95 was stopped during the time of the hoist extraction as there were safety concerns due to the proximity of the rescue to the interstate and the distracting nature the rescue could have to motorists.
After positioning the aircraft less than 100 feet away from the interstate overpass, and approximately 100 feet above the boat, the extraction was initiated by deploying a State Police Rescue Technician directly onto the boat. Using a rescue basket, all of the boaters were hoisted into the helicopter and transferred to the R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore for further evaluation.
Trooper 1 was assisted at the scene by FOXTROT, the helicopter from the Baltimore City Police Department, and ground units from the Maryland Transportation Authority Police Department and the Baltimore City Fire Department. This rescue was an overwhelming success and demonstrated the versatility of highly skilled State Police flight crew and advanced capabilities of the AgustaWestland AW 139 helicopter.
The Maryland State Police Aviation Command has served the citizens of Maryland since 1970 and operates a fleet of ten helicopters from seven bases throughout Maryland on a 24/7/365 basis. Missions include medevac, law enforcement, homeland security, search and rescue, and disaster assessment. The success of rescues performed by the Aviation Command depends a great deal on the cooperative effort of local fire, rescue, EMS, and law enforcement agencies.