JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska — Pararescuemen and helicopter crews from the Alaska Air National Guard’s 176th Wing rescued hunters in two separate (missions) on Thursday, Sept. 7, 2017.
At 2:40 p.m., the Alaska Air Guard received a request from the Alaska State Troopers to rescue an injured male, described as having lost blood due to a severe laceration, and drifting in and out of consciousness. The individual was located at Caribou Lake, approximately 140 miles northwest of Fairbanks. The man’s hunting partner was able to request help through the use of an inReach satellite communications device. The 176th Wing dispatched an HH-60 Pave Hawk rescue helicopter and a team of pararescuers from Eielson AFB to the location immediately after notification. Arriving on scene an hour later, the Air Guardsmen located the individual, who was suffering from a deep cut on the wrist. Pararescuemen tended to the injury while in transit to Fairbanks Memorial Hospital.
At 9:35 p.m., the Alaska State Troopers requested that the Alaska Air Guard provide a hoist-equipped helicopter to rescue a hunter stranded in the mountains above Jim Creek, southeast of Palmer. The man was described as trapped in a deep ravine. He was in the initial stages of hypothermia, and not equipped for the weather conditions. The 210th Rescue Squadron was conducting helicopter training in the Sustina low level training area in preparation for their upcoming deployment when the call for assistance was coordinated through the Alaska Rescue Coordination Center. Two Pave Hawk helicopters assisted by an HC-130J aerial refueling aircraft conducted the rescue. They arrived on scene at 10:54 p.m., and after hoisting the individual from austere terrain released him to an Alaska State Troopers at Mat-Su Regional Hospital.
The Alaska Air National Guard Pararescuemen from the 212th Rescue Squadron are highly skilled in rescue recovery and have the ability to treat life-threatening injuries. These teams utilize the HH-60G “Jolly” Pavehawk helicopter or the HC-130J “King” Hercules aircraft as aerial delivery platforms to reach survivors in extremis situations.
Both rescues were coordinated by 176th Wing, Alaska Air National Guard personnel at the Alaska Rescue Coordination Center on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.