U.S. Coast Guard Air Facility Muskegon’s MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew rescued a woman and her dog after she had been stranded on Lake Michigan’s shoreline at the bottom of a sand bluff, near Ludington, Michigan, Friday.
The woman and her husband had been hiking with their three dogs along the bluff near Lake Michigan, Thursday. They descended the cliff to the shoreline but were unable to climb back up due to loose soil and sand.
The couple had their cell phones but, due to lack of coverage, were unable to notify first responders. The couple spent the night on the shoreline. Friday morning, the husband was able to climb out and notify local responders.
At approximately 10:15 a.m., U.S. Coast Guard Sector Lake Michigan launched Coast Guard Station Ludington’s 29-foot response boat – small and a land crew from Station Ludington to assess the situation. The small boat was unable to get near the bluff due to small craft advisory conditions and the shallow depth of water.
Ludington fire department’s high angle rescue teams rappelled down to the stranded woman but encountered difficulties because of the steep terrain and loose ground.
U.S. Coast Guard Sector Lake Michigan launched a MH-65 Dolphin helicopter from Coast Guard Air Facility Muskegon and later, a MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City to assist. Once both helicopters were on scene it was determined that the dolphin helicopter would conduct the rescue and successfully hoisted the woman and one of her dogs at 12:44 p.m.
The fire rescue team were able to rescue the remaining two dogs. One of the fire team members suffered a leg injury while descending the bluff. The member was given a life jacket and waded into the water to be assisted onto the small boat and transported to local EMS on shore.