Coast Guard rescues 6 hunters on St. Lawrence Island, Alaska

A Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew rescued six hunters on St. Lawrence Island, Alaska, Oct. 22, 2017. A Savoonga search party estimated it would take 10 to 12 hours to get to the hunting party’s location. District 17 command center watchstanders directed the launch of the Jayhawk helicopter and crew forward deployed to Kotzebue to assist in the rescue of the six hunters. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

A Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew rescued six hunters on St. Lawrence Island, Alaska, Oct. 22, 2017.  U.S. Coast Guard photo.

KODIAK, Alaska – A Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew rescued six hunters on St. Lawrence Island, Alaska, Sunday.

The Jayhawk helicopter crew located the five adults and one child 25 miles southeast of Savoonga on St. Lawrence Island and transported them to the Savoonga airport in good condition.

Coast Guard District 17 watchstanders received a request from the Alaska State Troopers in Nome Sunday at 2:30 a.m., for the rescue of six seal hunters. It was reported the hunting party departed camp on all-terrain vehicles Saturday, but due to the inclement weather, was unable to return. The six hunters were not properly dressed for the cold and did not have shelter at their location.

A Savoonga search party estimated it would take 10 to 12 hours to get to the hunting party’s location. Coast Guard District 17 watchstanders directed the launch of the Jayhawk helicopter crew deployed to Forward Operating Location Kotzebue, to assist in the rescue of the six hunters.

The aircrew located the six hunters taking shelter in a makeshift cabin, landed in snowy conditions and safely transported them to the Savoonga airport at 9:30 a.m.

“Our crew did a great job navigating through poor weather,” said Lt. Cmdr. Tom Huntley, aircraft commander of the Jayhawk rescue helicopter.” It was a great feeling to return the adults and young boy safely to their village.”

Weather on scene was 27 degrees and 20 mph winds with blowing snow and visibility from one to five miles. Savoonga is 300 miles southwest of Kotzebue and 665 miles west-northwest of Anchorage.

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