JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska — The Alaska Air National Guard rescued three people on two separate occasions July 7. The first rescue mission involved an aircraft crash 16 miles east of Farewell Lake, and the second was a medevac mission for a woman experiencing life-threatening medical complications in Seward.
The first mission was opened around 10 p.m. Tuesday night when a Good Samaritan called the Alaska Rescue Coordination Center about a crashed Stinson 108-2 aircraft near Farewell Lake.
Shortly thereafter, four pararescuemen of the 212th Rescue Squadron left JBER aboard an HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter of the 210th Rescue Squadron, and an HC-130 Combat King of the 211th Rescue Squadron.
The two stranded individuals were located after about an hour of flying north, and were treated on-site.
“The pilot had no injuries, but the passenger was experiencing medical complications subsequence of the crash,” said Capt. Dan Warren, a combat rescue officer and senior controller at the AK RCC.
They were then transported to Providence Hospital and released.
While the pararescuemen and aircrew were dropping these individuals off for further medical care, they received notice of the second mission. A woman in Seward needed immediate medical attention due to the severity of her situation.
The medevac mission was taken by the Alaska Air National Guard due to high-risk weather conditions rendering all other air ambulances incapable, according to Warren.
The patient was in need of additional blood, which the pararescuemen received while still at the hospital. They also added a physician and critical care nurse to the crew headed towards Seward. The aircrew flew as close to Seward as possible while considering weather conditions, and landed the helicopter near Tern Lake Junction, commonly referred to as the Seward-Sterling Y. The pararescuemen and hospital staff then transferred to an ambulance that transported them to Seward.
They reached the individual, rendered care, and flew her to Providence Hospital for further treatment. The mission was closed at 2:30 a.m. July 8.
“I think it’s important to know that these events don’t happen without relationships within the community,” said Warren. “This is a small community and I’m glad we were able to help each other because of the relationships that we have with the hospitals and the people who work in them.”
The 210th RQS, 211th RQS, 212th RQS and AK RCC were awarded three saves.