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Alaska Air Guardsmen rescue man from Susitna River


JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska — Airmen with the Alaska Air National Guard’s 210th and 212th Rescue Squadrons this morning rescued an elderly man suffering from possible hypothermia who was stranded on the Susitna River, 3.5 miles northwest of Willow.

According to Alaska State Troopers, they received a phone call at 7:20 p.m. yesterday notifying that a man and three family members had become stranded while fishing. AST reports that they intended to recover the boaters at daylight via boat but requested assistance after receiving reports that one of the four family members was showing signs of hyperthermia.

“We received a phone call back from the boaters at 2:48 a.m. advising that it had been raining and they were having difficulty starting a fire and staying dry,” said Megan Peters, AST public information officer. “We [Alaska State Troopers] requested support from the Alaska Rescue Coordination center at 2:54 a.m. to rescue the four boaters.”

The Alaska Air National Guard accepted the mission and at approximately 3:16 a.m., dispatched an HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter from the 210th Rescue Squadron with a team of Guardian Angel pararescuemen from the 212th Rescue Squadron on board.

After arriving on scene, pararescuemen hoisted all four boaters into the helicopter and flew them to Mat-Su Regional Medical Center where they were released.

"Anytime you venture out in Alaska, you should be prepared to spend the night due to unforeseen circumstances,” said Lt. Col. Karl Westerlund, director of the Alaska RCC.  “This means being prepared for cold and rain, as well as carrying reliable communications such as a satellite phone and leaving a detailed trip report with a responsible party."

For this mission, the 210th and 212th Rescue Squadrons were awarded with one save.

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