How the Rescue Went Down

Jolly 11’s Capt. Bryan Creel and Jolly 12’s Capt. Rob Wrinkle led their crews through a blinding sandstorm, quickly realizing their forward-looking radar and Night Vision Goggles were basically useless. They had no communication with survivors, but tactical assets on the ground provided indications of their location, said Creel. He said he got a visual sighting of the crash about two miles out, but within 10 seconds his helicopter had flown right over it. “I thought we had much better visibility than we did,” he added. Then, he spotted the crew on the ground and said that he knew normal rescue altitudes wouldn’t work. Both crews had to go in below the dust storm—skimming the ground at below 50 feet. Then things got really tough. Read more here.