JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska — Alaska Air National Guardsmen of the 176th Wing rescued an injured snowmachiner May 23 near Whittier, Alaska.
Alaska State Troopers contacted the Alaska Rescue Coordination Center (AK RCC) around 8:15 p.m. on May 23 to request hoist capable assets to rescue an injured snowmachiner that Whittier Fire and Rescue personnel were unable to get to by foot.
The RCC contacted the 176th Wing who dispatched a 210th Rescue Squadron HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter with a 212th Rescue Squadron Guardian Angel (GA) team and a 211th Rescue Squadron HC-130J Combat King II.
Alaska Air National Guard Master Sgt. Andrew Marron, AK RCC Search and Rescue controller, said the snowmachine party used an inReach device to call for help but the nature of the terrain and injuries were such that ground personnel were unable to reach the injured person without putting more people at risk.
The Pave Hawk is the only hoist and aerial refueling capable helicopter in the state of Alaska. Dispatching with the Combat King enables the Pave Hawk to refuel and stay airborne in the search area for hours. The Combat King also provides communications relay between rescue assets that may not otherwise be able to communicate across terrain or distance.
Marron said the rescue team worked closely with the Whittier volunteer fire department during the rescue.
After locating the snowmachiner, the GA team used a 70-foot hoist to reach the injured person, who was stabilized and transported to Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage.
For this rescue, the 210th RQS, 211th RQS, 212th RQS and AKRCC were awarded one save.