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Coast Guard Close Up: WITN Rides Along For Intense Training

By: Alize Proisy
By: Alize Proisy

Coast guardsmen dispatched on rescue missions like 2 Wednesday off our coast endure rigorous training monthly. With one call they are on scene and ready to help save your life by boat or by air. Alize Proisy got an up close view of how the Coast Guard prepares for the worst.

"Getting to work with a helicopter that is 20 feet away it definitely makes me feel like I'm 18 again when I first joined the coast guard," said Executive Petty Officer Colin Smith.

The view from the helicopter never gets old for Smith even though his crew in Emerald Isle practices with the Elizabeth City Coast Guard every month.

"This is training for the real thing," said Smith. "Say your boat is sinking in one of our shallow shoals, and somebody on board is having a heart attack.This is the sight they would see as the coast guard pulls them up in a basket to get them to a hospital as fast as possible. The training we did today is essentially exactly what is going to happen if we get on scene and recover a victim from some sort of accident or search and rescue case. What you saw today with them sending a basket down, and us grounding that basket to the deck and discharging the static electricity that comes out of it, putting a person in the basket, giving a thumbs up, that's exactly what would happen if we had a victim on board and had to get them medical attention immediately."

Anthony Samuelson practiced from the boat this month, but one day hopes to be dangling his fins from the air.

"Its inspiring for me. It makes me want to go and train and get into the gym and work towards it, do what I have to to be there," said Samuelson.

He wants to be a rescue swimmer. He plans to jump out of helicopters to save people's lives.

"When you first see it, its amazing, and that feeling never really goes away."

Over the last year Coast Guard Air Station in Elizabeth City was called to Emerald Isle for 10 rescues with their helicopter crew. They either helped with medical evacuations or searched for missing people from the air.


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