COLUMBIA, S.C. - The South Carolina Helicopter Aquatic Rescue Team, formed in September 2009, put its 18 months of training to good use on Friday when the team completed its first live rescue mission.
SC-HART is only the second program of its kind in the nation, and it is a collaboration between Task Force 1 (Urban Search and Rescue Task Force - State Fire Marshal’s office), Emergency Management Division and the South Carolina National Guard.
The Army National Guard provides all the aviation assets and the hoist operators, and Task Force 1 provides the trained rescue technicians who actually depart the aircraft and assist the injured, getting the patient into a litter or harness and onto the aircraft.
Just before 3 p.m. on Friday (Feb 11), the Guard launched a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter with a crew of four, plus three rescue technicians (all members of the SC-HART program), from McEntire Joint National Guard Base.
They flew to a heavily wooded swamp area in the vicinity of Winyah Bay in Georgetown County, where an individual had accidentally shot himself in the leg.
In just one hour from take-off, the injured man was on board the aircraft and en route to Georgetown Airport where an ambulance was waiting.
"The outstanding and meticulous training our SC-HART personnel have completed paid off today," said Army Col. Paul Horry, state Army aviation officer for the South Carolina Army National Guard. "The entire mission was executed flawlessly.
"I’m really proud of what these professionals have committed themselves to, and how they completed the mission today."