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NEWS | April 4, 2014

129th Rescue Wing conducting dramatic sea rescue of baby

By Steve Marshall National Guard Bureau

MOFFETT FEDERAL AIRFIELD, Calif. - A team of Air National Guard members from the Bay Area's 129th Rescue Wing were in the midst Friday of a complicated rescue to save the life of an American infant at sea off the Mexican coast.

The pararescuemen were aboard a disabled sailing vessel and had stabilized a very sick child, 129th spokesman 2nd Lt. Roderick Bersamina said. "They took vitals and stabilized the child," he said. "The family is in good spirits."

Besides Air National Guard components, the U.S Navy dispatched a frigate to assist in the rescue, which was occurring about 900 nautical miles off the Mexican coast.

The 129th Rescue Wing received the call for assistance Thursday morning from the U.S. Coast Guard concerning a seriously ill 1-year-old girl onboard a 36-foot sailing vessel, Rebel Heart.

The infant requires treatment beyond the capabilities of those on board, and because of the vessel's remote location in the Pacific Ocean and the dire need for medical care, the 129th Rescue Wing accepted the mission.

At about 7 p.m. Thursday, the team of four Guardian Angel pararescuemen from the 129th RQW parachuted into the open ocean after more than five hours in flight in an MC-130P Combat Shadow aircraft.

They made their way to the boat in an inflatable Zodiac raft and joined the American couple and their two children.

The situation continued to evolve, but a news release from the 129th said two HH-60G Pave Hawk rescue helicopters also departed Thursday.

The pararescuemen, already aboard Rebel Heart, will prepare the infant and hoist her onto an HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter. The baby was then to be flown to a medical facility for further treatment, the news release said.

But with the involvement of the Navy ship, those plans may change.

The primary mission of the 129th RQW is to perform its wartime mission of personnel recovery anywhere in the world.

Equipped with MC-130P Combat Shadow aircraft and HH-60G Pave Hawk rescue helicopters, the 129th RQW has performed a wide variety of civilian-personnel recovery missions, including the rescue of distressed persons aboard ships and lost or injured hikers, and disaster response. To date, the 129th RQW is credited with saving the lives of more than 1,000 people.

Contributing: 129th Rescue Wing