DEATH VALLEY, CA – National Park Service rangers and Naval Air Station China Lake worked together to rescue a man who injured his leg in a motorcycle crash east of Mengel Pass in Death Valley National Park.
National Park Service (NPS) dispatch received an emergency request via a SPOT satellite messenger on the afternoon of December 19. The signal came from an isolated area of the Panamint Mountains, along one of the park’s most technical 4×4 backcountry roads.
Satellite messenger devices and satellite phones are the only way to communicate in case of an emergency in most of Death Valley National Park, which has limited cellular service.
Park rangers started driving toward the location and requested assistance from the VX-31 search-and-rescue helicopter based at Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake. The Navy crew rescued one man with a lower leg injury from a motorcycle crash and two other men who were cold, but uninjured. The men were flown directly to Ridgecrest Hospital for medical treatment.