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Colorado National Guard helps rescue teenage hiker in Hinsdale County 
By Colorado National Guard Public Affairs 
UH-60 Black Hawk 
A UH-60 Black Hawk from the Colorado Army National Guard similar to the aircraft used in search and rescue missions. (Stock photo courtesy Colorado National Guard) 

Tuesday, July 5, 2011 

Air Force Maj. Elena O’Bryan

CENTENNIAL, Colo. (7/5/11) – The Colorado Army National Guard last night assisted the Hinsdale County Sheriff’s Office to rescue an injured teenager hiking the Continental Divide Trail with another teenager in Hinsdale County, Colo. 

One UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter, piloted by two Soldiers who are instructor pilots with the High-altitude ARNG Aviation Training Site (HAATS), with a crew of two additional Soldiers, launched at approximately 5:00 p.m. from their training site in Gypsum, Colo. 

“Our aircrew transported two emergency service personnel to the scene at about 13,000 feet to treat one of the hikers for an injury and then got both teenagers to safety,” said Col. Joel Best, HAATS commander. 

The hikers were visiting from New York City. 

The aircrew returned to base at approximately 7:45 p.m. 

HAATS performs a critical mission providing life-saving combat skills to American pilots serving in mountainous Afghanistan.  The unit also assists civil authorities with search and rescues in Colorado’s high country.

HAATS is located between Vail and Glenwood Springs, Colo. The school trains military rotary-wing pilots from around the world in Power Management, which gives pilots the knowledge and confidence to operate their aircraft routinely and safely at maximum gross weights in any environment and especially at high altitudes in a power-limited environment.

Rescue efforts are coordinated through the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center, which notifies the Colorado National Guard’s Joint Operations Center in Centennial, Colo.  The AFRCC ties into the Federal Aviation Administration’s alerting system and the U.S. Mission Control Center.

For more information about the search and rescue, contact the Hinsdale County Sheriff’s Office at 970-944-2291.


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