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Helicopter Aquatic Rescue Team Receives International Recognition
June 18, 2014

HARRISBURG, Pa. (June 18) – The Pennsylvania Helicopter Aquatic Rescue Team (PA-HART) has been recognized with the prestigious Higgins and Langley Swiftwater Rescue “Program Development Award.”

PA-HART is a joint partnership between the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC), the Pennsylvania Army National Guard, and the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, along with civilian rescue specialists. 
“This award recognizes that Pennsylvania is a national leader in water rescue and I am extremely proud of the work by our staff and volunteer instructors,” said PFBC Executive Director John Arway.

The Higgins and Langley Memorial Awards honor outstanding achievement in the technical rescue discipline of swiftwater and flood rescue. The awards were established in 1993 by members of the Swiftwater Rescue Committee of the National Association for Search and Rescue (NASAR) in honor of Earl Higgins, a writer and filmmaker who lost his life in 1980 while rescuing a child who was swept down the flood-swollen Los Angeles River, and Jeffrey Langley, a Los Angeles County Fire Department firefighter-paramedic, who lost his life in a helicopter incident in 1993.

The awards were presented at the NASAR annual conference June 6 in Woodcliff Lake, N.J.

PA-HART is a highly specialized aerial search and rescue team which provides an air asset for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the nation to respond to natural and manmade disasters and incidents. This initiative mirrors the National Incident Management System and provides team members with technical training that prepares them to engage in hostile environmental conditions in both urban and wilderness settings.

The PFBC is the agency responsible for swiftwater rescue training in the Commonwealth and coordinates the water and air rescue training for the PA-HART.

“The safety of our citizens is greatly enhanced by having this resource,” Arway said. “The Pennsylvania Water Rescue Program is a unique and very important program supported by the Fish and Boat Commission and is a service we are proud to provide.”

Media Contact
Eric Levis, Press Secretary

The mission of the Fish and Boat Commission is to protect, conserve, and enhance the Commonwealth’s aquatic resources and provide fishing and boating opportunities. For more information about fishing and boating in Pennsylvania, please visit our website at
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