NEWS | July 19, 2021

Alaska Air Guard rescues 2 people after crash landing

By Maj. Chelsea Aspelund, 176th Wing

JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska – Alaska Air National Guardsmen of the 176th Wing rescued two people July 16 after an emergency crash landing in the Susitna River across the inlet from Anchorage.

The pilot of a PA-18 Super Cub from Wasilla landed due to an engine failure and called a friend, who contacted the Alaska Rescue Coordination Center.

"The pilot navigated the aircraft into the marshy area on the west side of the mount of the Susitna River," said Senior Master Sgt. Evan Budd, AKRCC superintendent. "This decision cushioned the landing, but the aircraft was damaged and the personnel on board required medical attention."

The AKRCC coordinated with the 176th Wing to dispatch a 210th Rescue Squadron HH-60G Pave Hawk with a 212th Rescue Squadron Guardian Angel pararescue team on board. The Pave Hawk crew was able to land nearby, and the pararescue team safely retrieved the pilot and passenger.

"The pilot was fortunate to have both cell reception and the physical capability to call a friend and start the rescue process," Budd said.

The AKRCC emphasized the importance of taking aviation safety precautions, including filing a flight plan and having a functional emergency locator transmitter turned on during flight.

The two people on the plane were taken in the Pave Hawk to Mat-Su Regional Medical Center.

For this rescue, the AKRCC, 210th RQS and 212th RQS were awarded two saves.