Air Support Facility Cordova rescues stranded hiker in Passage Canal

KODIAK, Alaska – A Coast Guard Air Station MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew rescued a stranded hiker from Passage Canal near Whittier Tuesday morning.

Michael Randall became stranded after he reportedly encountered two bears on a hiking trail and jumped from a cliff to the water to avoid them. Randall also reported he attempted to climb back to the trail but only made it about 200-feet up the cliff.

Coast Guard Sector Anchorage watchstanders directed the launch of a Kodiak helicopter crew, forward deployed in Cordova, after receiving a request for assistance from the Whittier Police Department and the Alaska State Troopers about midnight. While the helicopter was en route, Randall was reportedly able to descend to a beach and start a small fire.

The helicopter crew located Randall about 2:48 a.m., then safely hoisted and transported him to Whittier. He was attended by local emergency medical personnel and determined to be in good condition.

The weather at the time of the rescue was 38 degrees with an east northeast wind of 23 mph, gusting to 34 mph.

The Coast Guard encourages hikers to fully prepare themselves. Taking an emergency kit with food, water, personal locator beacon, flares and other items is highly recommended. Taking a bear safety class can teach a person the proper way to respond to a bear encounter.

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