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Colo. National Guard locates avalanche survivor 
By Colorado National Guard Public Affairs 
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OH-58 Kiowa helicopter (CONG file photo)
Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2012

Air National Guard Maj. Elena O’Bryan

CENTENNIAL, Colo. (1/24/12) – A Colorado Army National Guard OH-58 helicopter and crew provided overhead location and guidance to search crews who were able to locate a missing snowmobiler yesterday. 

The COARNG was called yesterday to assist in the search for two snowmobilers caught in an avalanche near Buffalo Pass in Jackson County, Colo.

The COARNG was called due to the high altitude terrain and recent avalanche activity.

One OH-58 Kiowa helicopter with a crew of two COARNG Citizen-Soldiers on board, launched at 2 p.m. yesterday from the High-altitude Army National Guard Aviation Training Site in Gypsum, Colo. 

HAATS performs a critical mission, providing life-saving combat aviation skills to American pilots serving in mountainous Afghanistan and other austere environments around the world. 

The unit also assists civil authorities in the high country, with more than 50 percent of all aviation-supported search and rescues in the U.S. 

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. AFRCC ties into the Federal Aviation Administration’s alerting system and the U.S. Mission Control Center. 

For more information about this search-and-rescue mission, contact Missi White, logistics team leader in the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office at 970-723-8427


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