Helicopter Aquatic Rescue Team practices skills on Susquehanna River

John A. Pavoncello
York Dispatch

The air was abuzz over Fort Hunter, just north of Harrisburg, as several state and local organizations took part in Operation Hurricane.

Led by the Pennsylvania Helicopter Aquatic Rescue Team, made up of state Fish and Boat Commission waterways conservation officers, the full-scale training exercise on Thursday, Aug. 15, tested rescuers' skills as they dropped from several Pennsylvania Army National Guard Blackhawk helicopters and a CH-47 Chinook. 

Scenarios were based on a post-hurricane response where "victims" were rescued from submerged vehicles, rooftops or boat crashes. 

York County WCO Darren Kephart zips into his dry suit before the start of the Pennsylvania Helicopter Aquatic Rescue Team (PA-HART) "Operation Hurricane" training exercise on the Susquehanna River at Fort Hunter, Thursday, August 15, 2019.
John A. Pavoncello photo

Participating organizations included PA-HART, Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission Swiftwater Rescue Team, Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, Pennsylvania Army National Guard, Special Medical Response Team, Rescue Fire Co., Susquehanna Township EMS, Dauphin-Middle Paxton Township Fire Co., Harrisburg River Rescue and Robinson Township (Allegheny County) Volunteer Fire Co.

PA-HART is a partnership between the Pennsylvania Army National Guard, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission and PEMA, along with credentialed civilian rescue technicians.