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NEWS | Feb. 5, 2014

Alaska Air Guardsmen rescue injured snowmachiner

By Sgt. Balinda O'Neal Alaska National Guard

JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska - Airmen with the Alaska Air National Guard's 210th, 211th, and 212th Rescue Squadrons medevaced a 25-year-old man from Stoney River Lodge, 35 miles northwest of Sparrevohn, who was injured while snow-machining Feb. 3

The 11th Air Force Rescue Coordination Center was notified at 5 p.m. Monday by the Yukon Kuskokwim Health Corporation in Bethel after the man was found alone and unconscious near the Stoney River Lodge.

According to the RCC, the Alaska State Troopers and LifeMed were unable to execute the mission due to the lodge being out of range for a helicopter and having no landing strip for fixed wing aircraft.

The Alaska National Guard responded by launching an HC-130 King aircraft from the 211th Rescue Squadron and an HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter from the 210th Rescue Squadron, each with a team of Guardian Angels rescue personnel from the 212th Rescue Squadron, from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.

"The HC-130 King aircraft arrived on scene before the HH-60 Pave Hawk," said Lt. Col. John Morse, deputy director for the 11th Air Force Rescue Coordination Center, Alaska Air National Guard. "The helicopter fought through weather through the passes and attempted several routes before finally getting through."

Guardian Angels and extra medical kits were airdropped from the HC-130 on scene to provide immediate care.

The man, who suffered from a head injury, was stabilized and loaded onto the helicopter before being transported and arriving at an Anchorage area hospital at 10:30 p.m.

"The lodge owner was prepared for the helicopter by providing a lighted landing zone and accurate information pertaining to the on-scene weather conditions, while remaining cool and collected," said Morse. "Remote lodges need to be able to self-rescue and simultaneously be prepared for outside help. They need to be able to contact AST, medical facilities, or the RCC."

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

It was the second rescue since Sunday of a snowmachine operator. On Sunday, crews saved a 32-year-old man who had broken his leg and injured a knee, according to an Alaska National Guard statement.