My mom scared me shitless today. I called to ask about stupid stuff (my sisters desired sweatshirt size) and the second words out of her mouth were, “Did you hear about David?”

David is my brother-in-law. He’s a helicopter pilot in the Coast Guard (hmm, he does *much* more than that but that’s pretty much what he does on a daily basis – fly rescue missions). I assumed it was actually good news so, when I said I hadn’t heard anything and she told me I should read my email or check out CNN, I started to freak out. Then she said, “His helicopter went into the water last night.” My heart fell right out onto the floor, literally (sorta).

Turns out he’s ok. He and the rest of the crew on the mission were rescued fairly quickly as there was another ‘copter in the area and got there right away. Unfortunately, the people they were rescuing were still missing as of this morning. I think the story has been updated to say that they have not been found. You can read the short news article on it here:

Sometimes I hate the careers the people in my family choose for themselves. Ok, I don’t really and David is the only one in such a career right now. Still, it is things like this that remind me of the danger David puts himself in on a regular basis. He can be a real ass to his wife (and family) at times but he truly has a heroic soul.


I wish I lived closer to my sister. I just want to hug her. Apparently when she called my parents last night the chaplan was at her house with her because David was still MIA. They found him soon after that but I can’t imagine what she was going through when she knew he was missing in the freezing waters of the Pacific Ocean. Not to mention his daughter Madeline. Jack is only 9 months old so at least he was spared that worry.

*hugs her family from afar*

The point of this rambling post? To say how thankful I am for my family and friends and… well, to thank God for saving David.

11 Responses to “Wow…”

  1. 1
    calturner says:

    {{{Rae}}} How scary for you and your family! I’m so glad everything turned out well.

  2. 2
    julia_here says:

    Lord, Rae, I’ve been listening to the news about this crash all day and thinking how terrifying it must have been for all involved. The Aleutians are considered “local” around here, because so much of the fishing fleet spends most of the year in the Gulf of Alaska.

    It’s been good news all day, in that no lives were lost, so this just makes it better.


    Julia, going to magpie this to the S’cubies, hope you don’t mind

  3. 3
    raelee says:

    Thanks {{Cal}} Me too.

  4. 4
    raelee says:

    Thanks, Julia

    Amazing how the one day I don’t pay attention to the news something that would have totally freaked me out happens. Glad to hear that no lives were lost. Now that you say that, I think that’s what my Mom told me but I had kinda stopped listening to her once I heard David was ok. Too busy thinking about what could have happened.


  5. 5
    fierydemise says:

    Hey hone,
    And we are thankful for you as well. I’m glad your family is still whole.


  6. 6
    southernbangel says:

    Oh god, Rae, I’m so glad David is okay! How scary!! I can’t imagine how terrified your sister was until they found him.

    {{{David and his family}}}


  7. 7
    karinalee says:

    Oh, Rae, how scary for you and your family! I’m so glad everything turned out okay, but what a terribly awful thing to have happen. {{Rae}} I’ll be praying for all of you.

    Love you muchly,

  8. 8
    cdn_tvaddict says:

    Oh Rae! That is SO scary!! What a terrible thing to go through. I’m so glad your B-i-L is OK and that no one was seriusly hurt. A true Christmaukkah miracle. {{{Rae}}

  9. 9
    madeline~ says:

    hi Rae, its madeline!
    Well now that you put the crash like that seems much scarier, i never thought very much of it. (probably cuz i was like 10 or 11 at the time). Well I just wanted to say hi and how do you make a website??
    I love you a Lot!!!♥

  10. 10
    madeline~ says:

    Hey Rae, just saw this posting. Madeline directed me. Just so you know the facts:
    Four crew were on the H6020. Two pilots (Dave and Doug) and the flight mechanic and the swimmer. When David arrived at the grounded frieghter the people on the boat wouldn’t get in the basket (we think because sparks would fly off the deck when the basket hit it, so they were scared). So the swimmer was hoisted down to get them to get in. So, He (Aaron Bean) was on the deck of the boat helping the last 8 people get hoisted into the helicopter. They (Davids and another H60 helicopter crew) had rescued 18 people off that ship earlier that day. There were three Coast Guard crew on the helicopter and they were hoisting the 7th person. The ship captain and the simmer were the last two on the ship. All of a sudden a rogue wave hit the deck of the ship and engulfed the helicopter. The three crew members on board were saved and one guy they had hoisted was saved. Six people died. I had to say that because the comments were so thankful that no one died. But that was not true. The crew were wearing reflector tape on their helmets and had on dry suits. They were easy to spot and had their wits about them. One man was unconcious and they saw him floating in the water. The flight Mechanic (Gregg Gibbons) from the H65 (another kind of helicopter) was able to drop the basket and with the best timing get the waves to push the man into the basket. Then he lifted it and the man had the cord wrapped around his neck. He was lucky just to survive the basket! Anyway, he was covered in oil and looked dead. They wiped the oil off the man and discovered that he was alive. They flew in a pattern to see the water on their way to Dutch Harbor to get the man medical attention. The irony is that the helicopter that saved the day (the H6513)… lucky 13, was on a nearby USCG ship and wasn’t suppossed to launch. Once they lift off the boat, they can’t go back to the boat until they are in calm seas. The ship ran around and they didn’t know where David was. He had gone to the town to wait instructions. He had gotten word that the frieghter ran aground and was on his way back. They had lost radio contact and the crew of the H65 didn’t know that David and his crew were just around the mountain range. They had lifted off the ship and seconds later they were in contact with David. But it was too late. They were off their boat (the Alex Haley) and couldn’t go back. So, they just decided to stick around and cover David while he did the rescue. The H65 rarely gets the good rescues. Once David was on scene they knew that they wouldn’t get to do a rescue. In fact, David talked to the H65 crew and were willing to let them do some of the rescue just to give them a chance at a save. But in the end they all decided that the H60 (the H6020) that David was flying was bigger and could handle the 8 person load, plus the 4 crew members. The H65 couldn’t take the whole group. In the end the H6020 crashed and the H65 got the biggest save of all. That was the first time that a H60 crashed in the Berring Sea and the whole crew lived. The water was 43′ and the older men that died probably died from shock when they hit the water. The waves were so high and violent they didn’t have a chance if they weren’t dressed properly. Street clothes won’t save you. Survival suits and dry suits are your best bet. The shore wasn’t far away and even if they did survive in the water, they couldn’t survive being thrown onto the rocks of the shore.
    As for me, I was one of the few people on the base that didn’t know a thing about it until it was all over. The first call I got about the whole thing was “Rose, this is Brian from the Air Station. I am just calling to tell you that David is fine and he should be calling you in a couple of hours.” I was perplexed. The whole base knew that something was up. They heard that a 60 went down and then didn’t hear that they were saved until a couple of hours later. Then they heard that it was David and no one wanted to call me. My best friend knew and her husband told her not to call me. Her husband was down there with David and his helicopter had an a problem and had to leave the scene earlier. So, he heard it on the radio and they freaked out. They all thought the crew was dead. Mostly because no one had ever survived a crash like that before. Frankly, had that H65 not been there, they wouldn’t have survived. It was night, it was storymy, the other chopper was broken and gone and the Alex Haley couldn’t have responded very quickly. So, the whole base had been through this crazy emotional roller coaster and I had gone through nothing. We were in town at Nutcracker practice. People thought I was a stone because I didn’t have a reaction. But I never was worried and I didn’t realize what happened until David came home and explained it to me and showed me the pictures. Also, the show Dangerous Catch really helped me understand the waters out there and just how dangerous it is. Last year the History Channel did a show called Alaska, Dangerous Territory. They interviewed David and they did a simulation of the crash. It’s a two hour show and David’s part is the last segment. But it’s a great show and it really explains a lot.
    Okay, that’s it in a nut shell.. just in case you were interested. None of the crew is flying anymore. David was accepted into a Masters Program before the crash and was leaving flying before this incident. Doug flew for one more year and decided he was too nervous about flying helicopters and is in a desk job. He still flies fixed wing. The flight mechanic had problems. He really had the worst experience. He had put his hands on everyone of those people and when he tried to get out of the chopper when it was submerged in the water, he forgot that he was tethered to the helicopter and had to figure out how to disconnect himself. All while he was under water. I can only imagine how scary that was. He also saw people floating in the water. He is not in the USCG anymore and has had some problems. The swimmer got out very soon after that. It was one of his first rescues. He was left on the ship with the ship captain. After the helicopter crashed, they all left the scene and he was alone on the ship waiting to be rescued. Then the ship split in half and all the lights were on the other half of the ship. At that point he wasn’t sure that they were going to be rescued in time. They were just waiting for a rescue or for the ship to sink. He was in radio contact with the Alex Haley and that kept him sane, but he was scared. To add insult to injury, the small life raft that he had been holding onto was swept away when he was on the deck (water was rushing over the boat with every wave). So, finally after the H6513 dropped off the crew from the crash and one survivor, they went back and picked up Bean and the Ship Captain. Anyway, it was a harrowing day for him. He ended up getting out of the service. The crew of the H65 all recieved Distinguished Flying cross Medals (the highest aviation medal) for that rescue. The two H60 crews were awarded an air medal for the rescue of the 18 people earlier that day.

  11. 11

    [...] Technically I suppose this is a follow-up to one of my posts from four years ago so, see, it’s not completely about bragging, right? Share and Enjoy: These icons link to [...]