HEADQUARTERS, U.S. ARMY ALASKA, FORT WAINWRIGHT, Alaska – An Arctic Dustoff crew from C Company, 1st Battalion, 52nd Aviation Regiment closed out 2019 and began the new year with a mission to assist survivors from a small plane crash.
The Alaska Rescue Coordination Center at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson forwarded the request for assistance just before 10 p.m. Dec. 31 after reports of a downed aircraft 10 nautical miles southwest of Fairbanks near the Tanana Flats. A hoist-equipped HH-60 Black Hawk helicopter from C Company, 1-52nd launched before midnight and responded to the scene. The crew had no difficulty spotting the aircraft as the downed pilot was able to activate his aircraft position and anti-collision lights despite it being overturned.
After negotiating heavy blowing snow, the crew landed and picked up the pilot and one passenger, who both appeared uninjured and well-prepared for the environmental conditions, then transported them to Fairbanks Memorial Hospital before returning to Fort Wainwright.
The Army, per an agreement with the Rescue Coordination Center, provides assets that may include medical evacuation helicopters to assist in emergency situations in Alaska under provisions of Defense Support to Civil Search and Rescue. These assets are available only at the request of the Alaska RCC.