Colorado CAP establishes impressive SAR record
The Colorado Wing is known for making double-digit saves. In 1978, two young Civil Air Patrol pilots located the wreckage of a commuter plane, then directed rescue crews to 20 survivors. Two years later the wing was credited with helping save 115 people, including four from a crashed single-engine Beechcraft that went down just as it was crossing the Continental Divide. The wing set what was then a record for single-mission saves when it worked with another agency to save a group of 42 people stranded by heavy snowstorms in the Flat Top Wilderness Area.
In 2003 wing members were called on and successfully found 12 overdue hikers in the Lizard Head Wilderness Area. Four years later, wing aircrews helped locate a stranded trucker during a New Year’s weekend blizzard in southeast Colorado. The following year, warming temperatures and rapid snowmelt brought members out to help the state’s emergency management agency assess flooding.
he wing was recognized in 2012 for outstanding support during a series of deadly wildfires near Colorado Springs and Fort Collins. Some 200 CAP members provided more than 1,600 man-hours in support of shelters. Aircrews flew 40 fire-spotting sorties and provided 1,800 images for damage assessment. Two years later, CAP aircrews flew 112 sorties and captured more than 10,000 images to help state officials assess flood damage.