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NEWS | May 11, 2021

Alaska Army National Guard rescues two near Knik Glacier

By Edward Eagerton, Alaska National Guard Public Affairs

JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska – Aircrew from the Alaska Army National Guard’s 1st Battalion, 207th Aviation Regiment, rescued a father and his daughter near Knik Glacier after their off-road vehicle was stuck in water May 8.

The Alaska State Troopers asked the Alaska Rescue Coordination Center for assistance, and they coordinated with the Army Guard’s 207th AVN for the rescue mission. A hoist-capable UH-60L Black Hawk medevac helicopter launched from Bryant Army Airfield on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.

The RCC provided the rescue aircrew with a grid coordinate for the location of the two, who were stranded at the base of the glacier about 15 miles from the trailhead.

“They swamped their side-by-side vehicle in high water and were unable to get themselves out,” said Lt. Col. Michele Edwards, Alaska Army National Guard State Army aviation officer.

Edwards said the father and daughter had cell phone service and were able to call for help but were not prepared for the possibility of becoming stuck in the elements.

“They did not have any kind of survival gear with them and it was getting colder as the night closed in,” Edwards said.

After spotting the two people near the glacier, the aircrew assessed the area for a safe place to land nearby, said Edwards. They were able to set down at the Picnic Strip, a designated landing spot near the high water.

“Once on the ground, they put the helicopter into idle on the landing strip and one of the crewmembers guided the two individuals into the helicopter,” she said. “They were cold and wet but otherwise were OK.”

Edwards said the off-road vehicle was not recoverable.

Edwards said that because they were in good condition and did not require medical attention, the two were transported to Palmer Airport, where they were picked up by family members.

For this mission, the 207th AVN was awarded with two saves.