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MINOT, N.D. (AP) — Members of the 54th Helicopter Squadron at Minot Air Force Base recently rescued a man trapped in his Montana cabin, surrounded by rising floodwaters.

The crew responded to a request for a hoist-equipped aircraft on March 24, the Minot Daily News reported.

Capt. Vicente Vasquez was the aircraft commander during the flight. He said when the team arrived they saw the individual stranded in the center of the floodwaters, standing on the deck of his cabin as the water steadily rose.

“Thanks to our accurate coordinates, we found the guy really quickly,” said Vasquez. “We analyzed the winds and realized we wouldn’t be able to land next to his house and walk him to the helicopter so we needed to hoist him up instead. We then established our hoist and lowered the doctor onto the house’s deck from about a 120-foot hover.”

Vasquez said the crew’s prior training and mission readiness helped guarantee the success of their search and rescue.

“We constantly train for live hoists, search scenarios and evaluating conditions at locations we’re unfamiliar with,” Vasquez said. “We train countless hours for searches before we even get to our operational units, so we’re all familiar with the concepts of search and rescue, which really helps us out there.”

The man was transported to a nearby hospital where emergency responders and the individual’s family were waiting.

“The most rewarding moment was being able to see the man’s wife picking him up at the airport after we dropped him off,” Vasquez said.

He notes that the operation went well due to the combined effort from several men and women across Minot AFB.


Information from: Minot Daily News,