JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska — Alaska Air National Guardsmen of the 176th Wing rescued four hikers at Hatcher Pass near Mint Hut July 2.
Alaska Air National Guard Capt. Brent Kramer, Alaska Rescue Coordination Center senior controller, said the hiking party activated the “SOS” on their satellite communication device when a member of the party fell and suffered a head injury.
The Alaska State Troopers received the signal and requested assistance from the AKRCC, who requested assistance from the 176th Wing. The wing dispatched a 210th Rescue Squadron HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter and a 212th Rescue Squadron pararescue team (PJs) from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.
The 210th RQS special mission aviator hoisted the PJs near the party with a Stokes litter. The team assessed and packaged the injured hiker for hoist to the helicopter with an accompanying hiker. A PJ was left with the remaining two hikers.
The injured hiker and accompanying hiker were transported to Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage and released to medical professionals.
The Pave Hawk stopped at JBER to refuel before returning to Hatcher Pass to hoist the PJ and remaining two hikers.
Kramer commended the hiking party for using a satellite communications device and stressed the importance of having a reliable means of communication when venturing into the Alaska wilderness.
“Having an inReach or some sort of SATCOM device was super beneficial for them,” he said.
For this rescue, 210th RQS, 212th RQS and AKRCC were awarded four saves.