CAMP DENALI, Alaskaâ€”Airmen with the Alaska Air National Guardâ€™s 210th, 211th and 212th Rescue Squadrons had a busy Tuesday night when they were tasked to respond to two separate rescue missions Sept. 3.
The 11th Air Force Rescue Coordination Center was notified around 4 p.m. that a plane had crashed on the east side of Rainy Pass, 105 nautical miles west of Anchorage.
“A private citizen saw the plane crash and called the Alaska State Troopers, who then notified us,” said Capt. Jeremy Brewer, a senior controller of the 11th Air Force RCC.
At 5:18 p.m., an HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter from the 210th Rescue Squadron with two Guardian Angels from the 212th Rescue Squadron took off from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.
At 5:53 p.m., an HC-130 King aircraft from the 211th Rescue Squadron with two Guardian Angels from the 212th Rescue Squadron departed JBER to join in the rescue mission.
“The survivors were located at 6:18 p.m. by the crew of the HH-60,” said Brewer. “We found them during a visual search, and the Troopers were also communicating with them via satellite phone during this time.”
“The survivors had minor injuries,” Brewer said. “Whenever an aircraft goes down, we always take them to get checked out at the hospital, even with minor injuries, because you never know if there are more serious internal injuries. One minute they can be walking around, and 15 minutes later, they may go unconscious. It’s better to get checked out.”
The survivors were transported to Providence Alaska Medical Center and released to medical staff at 7:10 p.m.
However, the evening was not over for the rescue Guardsmen. Another call came in at 12:14 a.m. from the Alaska State Troopers about a hunter who was in distress in the Eureka area.
“The Alaska State Troopers received a SPOT (beacon) notification when the hunter activated the ‘SOS’ feature,” Brewer explained. “When he activated it, the SPOT call center contacted the Troopers who then called us for assistance because they were unable to get to the individual.”
At 1:12 a.m., the mission was accepted by the 176th Wing of the Alaska Air National Guard.
At 2:37 a.m., an HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter from the 210th along with two Guardian Angels from the 212th took off from JBER.
At 2:53 a.m., an HC-130 King aircraft from the 211th along with two Guardian Angels from the 212th also left JBER to support the mission.
“The rescue crew in the HH-60 arrived on the scene at 3:29 a.m.,” said Brewer. “The survivor had sustained a minor leg injury in an ATV roll-over. The Guardian Angels assessed his injuries and stabilized the him while en route to the hospital.”
The survivor was flown to Mat-Su Regional Medical Center and released to medical staff at 4:18 a.m.
Over the span of 12 hours, the 210th, 211th and 212th Rescue Squadrons were credited with three saves for the two missions across the state.