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Navy chopper crew rescues 2 stranded climbers in dramatic midnight mission

Forbidden Peak (National Park Service photo)

FORBIDDEN PEAK, Wash. - Two stranded climbers were rescued Tuesday by a Navy helicopter crew during a dramatic high-elevation nighttime operation on Forbidden Peak in the North Cascades.

The five-member Navy search-and-rescue team, based at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, flew to the scene in an MH-60S chopper after being notified about two climbers in distress on the 8,815-foot-high peak.

When they arrived at the location, just before midnight, the team found the two climbers, who were flashing white lights near a vertical rock face at the base of a snow chute.

Because of the temperature and high altitude, the helicopter made several harrowing passes near the sheer mountain cliff to ensure they could lift the climbers from the mountain safely.

Both climbers were then successfully hoisted onto the chopper and rushed to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.

The Navy's search-and-rescue team at Whidbey Island has conducted 15 missions throughout Washington state so far in 2018, including 11 rescues, eight searches and one medical evacuation.

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