By Staff Writer | March 1, 2009
PUBLIC | POLICE
Since being delivered in late 2008, the Bell Huey II medium-lift helicopter purchased by the Kern County Sheriff’s Office in Calif. has been busy. In January, the Huey II rescued three motorcyclists who became lost in the frigid southern Sierra Mountains. Eleven days later, the Huey II helped locate and rescue two missing persons using its hoist. Kern County covers 8,139 square miles running from the mountains to the Mojave Desert north of Los Angeles county, and is generally sparsely populated. The Huey II is the county’s first medium-lift helicopter; it already has four light helicopters used for patrol. In addition to SAR, the Huey II is used for SWAT insertion and disaster response duties. Sheriff Donny Youngblood expects the Huey II to be a major help in fast-water rescues. Typically, an average of six area people drown every year due to falling in fast water. Having the Huey II’s hoist "is going to save lives," said Youngblood.