Aviators Rescue Plane Crash Survivors

By Roman Martyniuk, NJDMAVA/PA

DET 1, 1159th Med Co UH-60 Blackhawk

Detachment 1, 1159th Medical Company aviators rescued three survivors of a private plane crash in the Colorado Rockies between Vail and Aspen on Aug. 1.

The guardsmen were in Colorado performing their annual training at the Colorado National Guard High Altitude Training Facility at Eagle County Airport.

Crewchief Sgt. Fred Derry was the first to spot the wreckage. After landing their UH-60 Blackhawk near the downed civilian aircraft, Chief Warrant Officer 4 Jim denHartog, Chief Warrant Officer 4 Chris Millevoy, Capt. William Hydamen, and Sgt. Leroy Metz joined in the rescue effort. With an instructor pilot from the High Altitude Training Facility, the Guardsmen assisted a male survivor aboard the UH-60 and then used a portion of the crashed aircraft's broken wing as a stretcher to carry a more seriously injured female passenger to safety.

While en route to Vail Medical Center, the helicopter intercepted an ambulance that had picked up a third survivor. The third survivor, had traveled approximately 5 miles from the crash site in an effort to use his cell phone to call for help. A fourth passenger, a young child, did not survive the crash.