Released: September 16, 2020
By: CPT David Bedard
176th Wing Public Affairs
JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska — Alaska Air National Guardsmen of the 176th Wing rescued an injured hiker Sept. 16 at Hatcher Pass.
Alaska Air National Guard Maj. Kevin Kelly, Alaska Rescue Coordination Center deputy director, said the hiker used a satellite communication device to contact the Alaska State Troopers Sept. 15 who then contacted the AKRCC.
The AKRCC notified 176th Wing who dispatched a 210th Rescue Squadron HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter carrying 212th Rescue Squadron pararescuemen (PJs).
Aircrew of 210th RQS are combat search and rescue aviators highly capable in accomplishing civil search and rescue missions in Alaska's challenging weather and terrain 365 days a year. PJs of 212th RQS are highly trained combat search and rescue experts and paramedics.
Due to challenging weather and poor visibility, the HH-60 could not safely navigate to the hiker's location. The PJs were dropped off at Mint Hut, an A-frame shelter in Hatcher Pass. They then hiked toward the hiker's location before they had to bed down due to persistently bad weather.
At first light Sept. 16, the PJs were able to get to the hiker and provide medical care before moving him to a location where another HH-60 could hoist the hiker and the PJs into the hovering aircraft.
The patient was transported to Providence Alaska Medical Center where he was released to medical personnel.
Kelly highlighted the importance of carrying a satellite communication device, and he also said it is important to be prepared for tough Alaska conditions.
"Any time you are hiking into Alaska back country, be prepared to stay overnight," he said. "You never know when the weather will turn on you, and it's important you are ready to stay warm and dry if the temperature drops and fall rains come."
For this rescue, 210th RQS, 212th RQS and AKRCC were awarded one save.
Army Guard Road,
JBER, AK 99505