MCKINLEYVILLE, Calif. – A crew from Coast Guard Air Station Humboldt Bay assisted CALFIRE in the medical evacuation of a 30-year-old man who was injured while surfing near McKinleyville,Calif., today. At 10:57 a.m., the Coast Guard received the initial report of the injured surfer from a CALFIRE team that had arrived on scene and descended from the Luffenholtz Beach parking area to the popular surfing spot known as Camel Rock, located 200 feet below. The team determined an evacuation of the surfer up the steep access pathway to the parking lot would be very difficult.
The rescue team determined a Coast Guard rescue helicopter would be the safest and most expeditious means of rescue transportation to a local hospital. Coast Guard Air Station Humboldt Bay diverted an HH-65C Dolphin helicopter, already in the immediate area, to the scene. The aircraft, piloted by Lt. Stephen Baxter and Lt. j.g. Adam Wolfe, proceeded directly to the Luffenholtz Beach area where the crew was able to land directly on the beach due to low tides.
Once safely on the ground, flight mechanic Petty Officer Jim Zebal and rescue swimmer Petty Officer James Moore assisted paramedics. After determining the urgent need for further medical care, Petty Officers Zebal and Moore quickly prepared the surfer for the medevac and short trip to St. Joseph Hospital in Eureka, Calif. The rescue helicopter arrived at the hospital at 11:18 a.m., where injured man received more advanced care. The surfer was listed in stable condition.