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NEWS | Aug. 5, 2021

Alaska Air National Guard hoists injured hiker to safety

By Maj. Chelsea Aspelund, 176th Wing

JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska – Alaska Air National Guardsmen of the 176th Wing hoisted a hiker off the Crow Pass Trail near Girdwood Aug. 3.  
The Alaska State Trooper search and rescue coordinator contacted the Alaska Rescue Coordination Center about 8:30 p.m. after receiving a satellite phone call from a hiking party with a member experiencing a heat-related injury on the Crow Pass Trail.    
“The AST SAR coordinator had already coordinated for a civilian life flight to rescue the hiker, but there was concern of difficult terrain, so he notified us to be on standby,” said Capt. Brent Kramer, AK RCC senior search and rescue controller. “Alaska is a unique place for search and rescue, which is why we work so closely with our civil SAR partners.” 
Around 10 p.m., with the life flight unable to land near the hikers, the AST requested a hoist-capable aircraft.  
The AK RCC coordinated with the 176th Wing to dispatch a 210th Rescue Squadron HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter with a 212th Rescue Squadron Guardian Angel team of pararescuemen.  
The Pave Hawk crew located the hiking party and hoisted down the pararescue team to provide field medical care and prepare the patient for transport. The patient was hoisted onto the Pave Hawk and flown to an Anchorage area hospital. 
The AK RCC noted the safety precautions taken by the hikers in carrying a satellite phone and having emergency contact numbers on hand.   
For this rescue, the AK RCC, 210th RQS and 212th RQS were awarded one save.