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AFRCC coordinates ground rescue for glider crash

TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- The Air Force Rescue Coordination Center here assisted in saving a life, Monday, as it coordinated the rescue response for a glider pilot that crashed in the mountains near Franklin, West Virginia.

The pilot's wife initially reported the crash to the Pennsylvania Civil Air Patrol after receiving a cell phone call from the pilot after he crashed in a mountainous area of West Virginia. The Pennsylvania CAP contacted the AFRCC and rescue coordination efforts began.

Because of high winds, local National Guard assets could not be used, according to the AFRCC. The West Virginia CAP immediately accepted the mission and dispatched ground teams to the suspected crash area. The search was called off at approximately 8 p.m. because of high winds and nearly zero visibility.
Concerned the pilot may not survive the night, West Virginia CAP Wing Commander, Colonel Rodney Moore, then decided to return to the mountain to continue the search.

The rescue team located the pilot around dawn. His injuries included multiple broken bones, lacerations, and frost bite. He was carried down the mountain by the team and a Maryland State Police helicopter transported him to a hospital in Cumberland, Md.

Serving as a 24/7 communication hub during on-going search and rescue missions, the AFRCC and its state-of-the-art technology, including network satellites for monitoring emergency locator transmitter signals, helps reduce critical time required to locate and recover people in distress.

The AFRCC was realigned under 1st Air Force (AFNORTH) to consolidate Air Force support to civilian agencies under a single air component commander.

Formally assigned to Langley AFB, Virginia, the AFRCC is now consolidated with the 601st Air Operations Center here, giving it greater ability to leverage Air Force air and space capabilities that can be applied to search and rescue.