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NEWS | July 9, 2020

Alaska National Guard rescues three people in two missions

By Spc. Grace Nechanicky Alaska National Guard

JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska – The Alaska Air National Guard rescued three people July 7 in separate missions involving an aircraft crash and a woman experiencing life-threatening medical complications.

The first mission began Tuesday night when the Alaska Rescue Coordination Center received a call about a crashed Stinson 108-2 aircraft near Farewell Lake.

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,” said Capt. Dan Warren, a combat rescue officer and senior controller at the AK RCC.

They were transported to Providence Hospital and released.

While the pararescuemen and aircrew were dropping them 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 blood, which the pararescuemen received while still at the hospital. They also added a physician and critical care nurse to the crew headed toward 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 took them the rest of the way.

They reached the individual and transported 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.”