JUNEAU, Alaska — A Coast Guard Air Station Sitka MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew rescued a pilot after his float plane crashed approximately 26 miles west of Ketchikan, Alaska, Monday night.
The helicopter crew located the plane wreckage on the shoreline of a lake on Prince of Wales Island, hoisted the man and transported him to Ketchikan airport where he was met by awaiting emergency medical services personnel. No serious injuries were reported.
Coast Guard 17th District command center watchstanders received an Electronic Locator Transmitter (ELT) alert for a single Piper Tri-Pacer float plane. Coast Guard watchstanders immediately contacted Ketchikan Flight Service Station who stated they last communicated with the pilot at 5:15 p.m. but had lost contact shortly after. A Sitka helicopter crew was launched to search.
“EPIRBs and ELTs are absolutely invaluable during emergencies because they instantly alert responders to your distress, provide a precise GPS location and give a description of your aircraft or vessel when they’re properly registered,” said Lt. Kailee Everteze, Coast Guard Sector Juneau Command Center command duty officer. “We cannot stress enough that having the proper safety equipment can be the difference between living and dying.”
The weather on scene at the time of the medevac was reported as 3 mph winds, with 10 mile visibility.