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JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska — A UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter with three crewmembers and one paramedic responded to a request for assistance from the Alaska State Troopers to search for two snowmachiners whom activated a distress beacon late Friday night.
The Alaska State Troopers received a call from the Alaska Rescue Coordination Center in response to multiple spot beacon requests 2.5 miles from Quartz Creek Airstrip, north of Nome.
At the request of the Alaska State Troopers, Army National Guard assets were deployed from Nome for the mission, to include an UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter from the 1st Battalion, 207th Aviation Regiment, with three crewmembers and one emergency medical technician from the Nome Volunteer Fire Department.
When the responding UH-60 crew arrived on scene, they discovered a male and female pair whose snowmachine journey to Serpentine Hot Springs was cut short. The couple’s transportation became severely buried in deep snow and they were unable to continue on, at which time they initiated their personal locator beacon.
The paramedic evaluated the two for injuries, and although cold and exhausted from the exposure to the extreme cold weather conditions, no serious injuries were reported. The crew from the 1-207th AVN assisted with removing the repressed snowmachine from the deep snow, and guided the two to a nearby heated shelter where they could wait out the night and continue their journey in the morning.
The Alaska Rescue Coordination Center recommends that people take a personal locator beacon with them when traveling into the wilderness, even on short outings. The activation of a personal locator beacon immediately gains the attention of the RCC and directs responders to the beacon’s location within minutes.