NEWS | Oct. 25, 2013

Alaska rescue Airmen save man at mine

By Sgt. Edward Eagerton Alaska National Guard

CAMP DENALI, Alaska - Airmen with the Alaska Air National Guard's 210th, 211th and 212th Rescue Squadrons responded Thursday to a request to medevac a 35-year-old man from the Nixon Fork Mine, 28 miles northeast of McGrath.

"The patient was showing neurological symptoms consistent with the need for medevac," said Senior Master Sgt. Rob Carte, a senior controller with the 11th Air Force Rescue Coordination Center, Alaska Air National Guard.

The 11th Air Force RCC was notified by Fairbanks Memorial Hospital at 11:50 p.m. when they determined that LifeMed was unable to extricate the patient from his location, Carte said.

"They couldn't go because of lighting, weather and runway conditions," he said.

At 12:10 a.m., the 176th Wing of the Alaska Air National Guard accepted the mission.

At 1:40 a.m., an HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter from the 210th Rescue Squadron and an HC-130 King aircraft from the 211th Rescue Squadron, each with a team of two Guardian Angels from the 212th Rescue Squadron, took off from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.

At 3 a.m., the rescue teams were on the ground at the mine, and loaded the patient onto the Pave Hawk, and flew him back to the hospital in Anchorage, delivering him to medical professionals at 4:30 a.m.

"Luckily, there are overlapping assets in the search and rescue inventory in Alaska," said Carte. "When the private sector cannot accomplish a mission like this, the military is here to help."

The 210th, 210th, 211th, and 212th Rescue Squadrons were credited with one save for the mission.