February 27, 2016 The Sonoma, Ca. County Sheriff’s Department received a call a little after 3:00 P.M. of a family consisting of three children and an adult who were in distress. They had been swept out to sea by a large wave and a lifeguard was unable to rescue them. The Department dispatched resources including a helicopter to make a dramatic rescue. The events were detailed as follows:
On February 26, 2016 at 3:05 PM, the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office Dispatch center received an emergency call from the dispatch center for California State Parks. A Lifeguard was in the water trying to save four people (three children and an adult) who had been swept out into the waves of Goat Rock beach.
The Coast Resident Deputies and those stationed at the River substation responded in patrol cars while the Sheriff’s helicopter, Henry 1, lifted off. More State Parks Rangers and Fire/Emergency personnel were responding. The Coast Guard helicopter was summoned as well from the San Francisco USCG base. Ocean conditions prevented the fire department’s rescue boat from responding.
While airborne the paramedic changed into his wetsuit. Visibility was very poor and there were frequent updates about the weather cautioning the Henry 1 crew. It wasn’t until they were seconds from the coastline that they actually saw the ocean.
Within 13 minutes of being dispatched, Henry 1 was on scene to begin a long line rescue of the three stranded victims who were now about 200 yards off shore in the frigid water. They landed to configure the long line and attach the paramedic. The pilot flew out with the paramedic dangling below and dropped a floatation ring to the victims. The paramedic then grabbed a girl and the pilot flew them to the beach. Henry 1 pilot flew the paramedic back out into the ocean grabbed the woman and safely set her on the beach.
Finally the heroic State Parks Lifeguard was rescued from extremely cold water and flown to the emergency personnel were attending to the group on the beach. After the Henry 1 crew landed and disconnected the long line, they flew back to the beach and transported the State Parks Lifeguard to the hospital for treatment.
Within six minutes the helicopter crew had all of the people out of the dangerously cold water and on land in the capable hands of the emergency personnel.
We are extremely proud of the dangerous work the crew of Henry 1 does on missions. We work together with all other jurisdictions and first responders in emergency situations to bring out a successful outcome. Whether rescue, law enforcement or firefighting our helicopter is a vital component in service to the community as well as our partners in public safety.
This footage was taken from inside the helicopter during the rescue and provided by the Sonoma Co Sheriff.