Air search & rescue

WSDOT is responsible for the coordination and management of aerial search and rescue within the state.

Aviation Emergency Services Program

WSDOT is responsible by statute for the coordination and management of aerial search and rescue within the state. This includes coordinating aircraft for disaster response & recovery when requested.

WSDOT accomplishes this mission by closely coordinating with all available resources and agencies, including the Washington State Emergency Management Division, U.S. Air Force Rescue Coordination Center, U.S. Coast Guard and the U.S. Navy Search and Rescue. We also use volunteer resources from Washington Air Search and Rescue, the Civil Air Patrol and county sheriff's search and rescue programs across the state.

Structure

The Aviation Emergency Services Program (AES) is operated by the WSDOT Office of Emergency Management. WSDOT Aviation provides funding and an aircraft for the AES Program.

Mission

WSDOT Aviation Emergency Services mission is to coordinate and manage aerial search and rescue (SAR) within the state. This includes:

Directly managing missing aircraft SAR operations.

Search and rescue activities involving electronic-signaling devices such as emergency-locater transmitters, emergency position-indicating radio beacons and personal-locater beacons associated with aeronautical use.

Following up on reported sightings of distressed aircraft, reports of overdue aircraft.

Coordinating aviation resources for disaster response and recovery as requested through the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC).

Mission scope

This coordination and management of all aviation SAR does not include SAR operations conducted by the chief law enforcement officer of each political subdivision (RCW 38.52.400). When a downed aircraft is located, the incident responsibility becomes a land search and rescue operation under the direction and control of the chief law enforcement officer in whose jurisdiction the incident is located (typically the county sheriff).

Emergency Air Operations

WAC 468-200 Air Ops
RCW 47.68.38

 

8,683 animals crossed the Snoqualmie Pass East Project area

as recorded by WSDOT and partners in 2020 and 2021.

46% increase in Amtrak Cascades ridership to 251,000 passengers

in 2021 compared to 172,000 in 2020.

Nine wetland and stream mitigation sites across 32.7 acres added

to our monitoring program in 2021 to help offset climate change impacts.