JOINT BASE ELMENDORF RICHARDSON, Alaska – The Alaska Air National Guard’s 176th Wing rescued an injured hiker on Esther Island about 70 miles east of Anchorage May 16.
A little after midnight, three pararescuemen from the 212th Rescue Squadron boarded an HH-60G Pave Hawk from the 210th Rescue Squadron.
Alaska State Troopers requested rescue support from the 176th Wing after Life Med arrived on scene to perform initial medical care but reported being unable to extract the distressed person from the steep, rocky terrain.
The 210th Rescue Squadron is the only unit in the state with hoist equipped HH-60G Pave Hawks capable of rescue operations in adverse conditions.
“The normal rescue complement consists of two pararescuemen, but the technicality of this mission and the anticipated injuries required three pararescuemen,” said Alaska Air National Guard Master Sgt. Andre Marron, the search-and-rescue controller on duty when the AST request came to the Alaska Rescue Coordination Center.
After locating the hiker, three pararescuemen were hoisted down with the rescue basket to prepare the hiker for transport. Once stabilized, two pararescuemen held the tag line to ensure the rescue basket would not swing or twist while the third continued to provide medical support during the hoist.
Together, they safely hoisted the hiker more than 120 feet to the Pave Hawk for transport to Alaska Regional Hospital for further treatment.
Marron highlighted the unique mission performed by the Alaska National Guard rescue squadrons.
“Alaska exposes us to all kinds of adverse terrain and situations,” he said. “Our specialized training and equipment allow us to serve as a key partner within the civil search and rescue community.”