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Alaska Air Guardsmen rescue two hikers from Copper Mountain


JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska— Airmen with the Alaska Air National Guard’s 210th, 211th and 212th Rescue Squadrons rescued two hikers from Copper Mountain in the Lake Clark National Park and Preserve Aug. 31.

According to the National Park Service, its Alaska Region Communication Center received a distress call around 7:30 p.m. reporting that a hiker had sustained injuries in a fall. The National Park Service reports that members of the hiking party provided first aid but were unable to evacuate the injured man because of his injuries and the unstable terrain.

The National Park Service and Alaska State Trooper personnel in Port Alsworth contacted the Alaska Rescue Coordination Center to request assistance.

The Alaska Air National Guard responded from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson with an HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter from the 210th Rescue Squadron with a Guardian Angel pararescue team from the 212th Rescue Squadron on board, along with an HC-130 from the 211th Rescue Squadron.

“The terrain in the area was very steep, and when we arrived on scene it was dark, which required our crews to use night vision goggles to execute the mission,” said Lt. Col. Karl Westerlund, director of the Alaska Rescue Coordination Center. “The HC-130 located the hikers and provided the information to the HH-60.”

The Guardian Angel team hoisted the injured hiker onto the helicopter, and before leaving the area, Guardsmen noticed a second person in the hiking party appeared to be unresponsive. They subsequently hoisted him into the helicopter and the other two people from the hiking party as well and transported them all to Anchorage where they were release to hospital personnel and Alaska State Troopers.

For this mission, the 210th, 211th and 212th Rescue Squadrons were awarded with two saves.

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