JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska — Airmen with the Alaska Air National Guard’s 210th and 212th Rescue Squadrons rescued three hikers from the Bomber Glacier area near Hatchers Pass, Sept. 4.
One of the hikers contacted the Alaska State Troopers via cellphone after another hiker had fallen and broken his leg.
“One of them climbed up to the ridgeline and called troopers before his cellphone quit due to dead batteries,” said Lt. Col. Karl Westerlund, director of the Alaska Rescue Coordination Center, Alaska Air National Guard.
Alaska State Trooper and civilian air ambulances were unable to conduct the rescue mission due to poor weather conditions, according to Westerlund.
The Alaska National Guard accepted the mission at approximately 6 p.m. and dispatched an HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter from the 210th Rescue Squadron with a team of Guardian Angels from the 212th Rescue Squadron onboard.
Guardian Angel teams are highly trained medical personnel made up of a pararescuemen and combat rescue officers who specialize in conducting high-risk rescue missions.
The rescue team located the hikers near Bomber Glacier and hoisted them into the HH-60, said Westerlund. After recovering the three hikers, they were flown and released to Mat-Su Regional Medical Center and the AST at approximately 8 p.m. in good health.
“Because of the close coordination between the Alaska RCC and the Alaska State Troopers, we were able to quickly get a rescue asset on scene and recover the injured and stranded climbers,” said Westerlund. “Poor weather and darkness were quickly moving in, and would have made the rescue attempt significantly more challenging if the mission had been delayed.”