VX-31 helps rescue crash victim

National Park Service rangers and VX-31 from the Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake worked together to rescue a man injured in a motorcycle crash east of Mengel Pass in Death Valley National Park.

National Park Service dispatch received an emergency request via SPOT satellite messenger on Dec. 19. The signal came from an isolated area of the Panamint Mountains, along one of the park’s backcountry roads.

Satellite messenger devices and satellite phones are the only way to communicate in case of an emergency in most of the park, which has limited cellular service.

Park rangers requested assistance from the VX-31 search-and-rescue helicopter based at China Lake. The Navy crew rescued one man with a lower-leg injury from the crash and two other men who were cold, but uninjured. The men were flown to Ridgecrest Regional Hospital for treatment.

Story First Published: 2020-01-03