Alaska weather prevents Coast Guard rescue of four men stranded on mountain

KODIAK, Alaska – Blizzard conditions and winds in excess of 50 mph prevent Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak from rescuing four cable technicians stranded on Sheritan Mountain on Kodiak Island.

Currently low cloud ceilings, poor visibility and high winds are preventing the Coast Guard from launching any aircraft or ground teams to assist. Coast Guard personnel are closely monitoring the situation and maintain communications with the technicians.

“We have established communications and receive regular updates on their status,” said Cmdr. Todd Trimpert, Coast Guard chief of emergency response for Alaska, “As soon as the weather allows we will launch.”

The technicians, working for Kodiak Kenai Cable Company, were dropped off Sunday with a week of supplies to work on a cellular telephone tower. During the night high winds damaged the camp and blew away at least one tent and some of the supplies.

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.

The Alaska State Troopers are also assessing the situation and making preparations to send a ground party up the mountain.

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