Hawaii Coast Guard Reaches Milestone - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Hawaii Coast Guard Reaches Milestone

Lieutenant Krys Finch Lieutenant Krys Finch
Jason Schelin Jason Schelin
Major Cary Bathrick Major Cary Bathrick
Leiutenant Dan Long Leiutenant Dan Long

By Beth Hillyer

BARBERS POINT (KHNL) -- Many veterans have served as the guardians of the sea. And a local Coast Guard crew is marking a major milestone. During a recent rescue the fleet of bright orange helicopters surpassed their one millionth flight hour.

While the pilots and crew members completed the rescue, they credit the maintainers with keeping the helicopters ready to go at a moments notice.  When a crewmember on a foreign fishing boat had a heart attack the crew of the H-65 sprung into action.

When the distress call comes in the crews scramble. They grab safety gear and fire up the H-65 helicopter, the backbone of Coast Guard aviation. WIth nearly one hundred in the Coast Guard fleet, four are based here in Hawaii.

Chopper 8 provides this close up. It's quiet on this training flight all but that can change in a moment.

This is exclusive video of the rescue where the fleet marked it's millionth flight hour.

Lieutenant Krys Finch was one of two pilots on the mission.

"It's a really big deal been flying it since mid-80's and to fly a million hours and have the sucess that we have had in misisons we have done is really something for us to be proud of," he said.

They hover just 40 feet above the ship, a delicate balance with the rescue swimmer dangling below.

"I absolutely love this job," said rescue swimmer Jason Schelin.  "I enjoy helping others and it's a profession I love."

After the rescue, a swimmer reaches the ship.  They lower a basket down to him.  The pilot must hover carefully as the victim is hoisted back up. They carefully bring the patient inside.

"The ultimate reward is the potential of saving a life," said Lieutenant Dan Long, a pilot.  "We are here for the mariners, we train day in day out for that to go out and assist them and be there to save them if they need us."

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