Coast Guard Forward Operating Location Barrow responds to distressed hikers

Coast Guard Alaska NewsBARROW, Alaska – A Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter and crew from Coast Guard Forward Operating Location Barrow rescued a hiker from Atigun Gorge, about 240 miles southeast of Barrow Thursday.

Rescued was Olaf Schooll, of Norway. Watchstanders at FOL Barrow were notified by North Slope Borough Search and Rescue at approximately 10:30 p.m. Wednesday that Schooll had contacted the Alaska State Troopers via satellite phone to report his companion had slipped off of a cliff edge and had been swept away by the Atigun River at the base of the gorge.

Through the coordination of the 17th Coast Guard District, North Slope Borough Police Department, North Slope Borough Search and Rescue, Alaska State Troopers and the Rescue Coordination Center, Coast Guard crewmembers located Schooll and safely hoisted him into the helicopter. Schooll was delivered in good condition to Barrow.

“Because Mr. Schooll was traveling with a satellite radio, we were able to locate him within a few feet of his relayed coordinates,” said Lt. Vincent Jansen, a pilot aboard the Coast Guard rescue helicopter. “In the event that something goes wrong, time is critical. It is imperative that hikers and hunters venturing into this type of extreme terrain are prepared with the proper equipment.”

The second hiker was located deceased approximately one mile downriver of the reported position. Due to terrain and water conditions, the Coast Guard aircrew was unable to recover the second hiker. A North Slope Borough helicopter left Barrow early Thursday afternoon in an attempt to recover the man.

The two men were on a hiking trip across the Brooks Range, from the Canadian border to the Bering Sea.

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