"It Was A Good Day For The Coast Guard"
It was supposed to have
only been a demonstration -- part of Saturday's Vertical Challenge
Helicopter Air Show at the San Carlos Airport in California. But
reality intervened... and US Coast Guard Lieutenant Che Barnes had
to call the air boss and say, "...we're going to be running
"We heard on the radio about a vessel that saw the aircraft in
the water and a gentleman trying to wade ashore," said Barnes, the
Barnes then headed for Redwood City, where a single engine
Cessna had gone down in the water. The pilot and lone occupant on
board that aircraft was spotted by a member of the Coast Guard
auxiliary... trying to wade to shore in waist-deep water.
The helo crew quickly spotted the wrecked plane and its
struggling pilot. Barnes' rescue diver hit the water and helped the
middle-aged victim into the rescue basket.
"The guy's lucky, because I don't think it was a very smooth
landing," Barnes told the San Francisco Chronicle. "He had a ways
to go if he was going to walk to shore. That water's really cold,
and he was out there I'm not sure how long."
"We were just talking about how lucky he was," Barnes added. "In
this case, we happened to be airborne when he was noticed."
Hiller Aviation Museum hosted the Vertical Challenge Helicopter
Air Show -- billed as the country's largest all-helicopter air show
-- to educate the public on how helicopters affect our daily lives.
Dozens of demonstrations were scheduled at San Carlos Airport (SQL)
to showcase the versatility of rotorcraft, in everything from
traffic and news reporting, to the defense of our country, to life
saving rescues... a point that was brought home Saturday by Barnes
and his crew.
And as for that rescue demonstration back at San Carlos? Well,
the rescue meant the Coast Guard crew had run out of time for that.
Instead... they did a fly-by at the air show... and they wowed 'em.
Having learned what happened, folks in the crowd waived wildly as
Barnes and crew flew majestically along the flightline.
"Everyone was waving," said Barnes. "It was neat. It was a good
feeling. It was good day for the Coast Guard."