Coast Guard continues coordinated rescue effort in Kodiak

KODIAK, Alaska – A Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk from Air Station Kodiak was launched at 3 p.m. and flew to an altitude of 1,750-feet but was unable to reach the location where the four stranded men are due to low cloud ceilings, poor visibility and high winds.

Alaska State Troopers flew in a helicopter owned by Maritime Helicopters Inc. to an altitude of 1,400-feet but had to land on the side of the mountain due to high winds and low visibility. An Alaska State Trooper ground search party disembarked from the helicopter once it landed and began making their way to the four stranded individuals today at 3 p.m.

The Alaska State Trooper ground search party is scheduled to arrive at the location of the four stranded individuals at 5:45 p.m., which is at an elevation of 2,850-feet on Sharatin Mountain. The ground search party will attempt to guide the four stranded individuals down the mountain tonight. The ground search party did bring necessary equipment in case they needed to stay at the location overnight.

“Taking supplies for a week, having two methods of communication and the training to build a shelter made all the difference for these individuals,” said Lt. LuAnn Kehlenbach, Coast Guard Sector Anchorage command center chief. “Even the most prepared and experienced individuals can run into trouble.”

Three of the individuals became separated from the camp during the night and are currently on the backside of the mountain using a makeshift snow cave for shelter. They contacted the Coast Guard at about 7:45 a.m. today via VHF channel 16 reporting minor frostbite and hypothermia symptoms.

The fourth individual remained with the camp in one of the tents and contacted the Coast Guard at about 5 a.m. on a satellite phone. He reported himself in good condition.

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