Coast Guard aircrews tackle rescue, response across Alaska

KODIAK, Alaska – Coast Guard aircrews across the state have had a busy Thursday rescuing a hunter in Western Alaska and identifying a fire and transporting ground crews to respond to it near Haines.

Controllers at the District 17 command center in Juneau received a personal locator beacon transmission about 9 a.m. The beacon was registered to Richard Burns, the pilot of a Piper Super Cub airplane. Burns had reportedly flown his plane to a hunting camp in a box canyon on the Cathedral River 27 miles north of King Cove. High winds in excess of 70 mph damaged his plane and tent leaving him exposed to the elements.

Burns activated his PLB and was located by an Air Station Kodiak HC-130 Hercules aircraft crew late Thursday morning. The crew spoke with Burns and confirmed he had no injuries. An Air Station Kodiak MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew hoisted Burns and had him safely aboard by 1:45 p.m. He was delivered to the clinic in Cold Bay about 30 minutes later.

While on patrol near Haines an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from Air Station Sitka spotted a fire on the beach at Seduction Point. They reported the fire to the Coast Guard Sector Juneau command center who contacted authorities in Haines.

The responders in Haines requested transportation for three fire fighters and 600 pounds of gear to the scene of the fire. The aircrew embarked the responders and delivered them to Seduction Point about eight miles southeast of Haines to battle the 100 by 400 foot blaze.

The same Sitka-based aircrew was then diverted to respond to an ultra light airplane crash east of Haines past the ice field just over the Canadian Border. The Coast Guard received notice from the Rescue Coordination Center in Victoria, B.C. that the plane had crashed. The Coast Guard aircraft was closer to the scene than any Canadian forces but the pilot of the ultra light had no injuries and elected to wait for Canadian-based assistance freeing the Coast Guard aircraft to return to base.

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