Coast Guard Air Station Sitka rescues 2 hunters near Juneau, Alaska

A Coast Guard Air Station Sitka MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter

Air Station Sitka MH-60 FIle Photo

Juneau – A Coast Guard Air Station Sitka MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew rescued two hunters from Blackerby Ridge Trail, located in the Tongass National Forest near Juneau, Alaska, Tuesday.

Coast Guard Sector Juneau watchstanders received a VHF channel 16 call from two men, ages 22 and 24, at 8:30 p.m., stating they were not prepared to stay out past sundown and were experiencing signs of dehydration. The men were goat hunting at the time.

Sector Juneau watchstanders notified the Alaska State Troopers of the request and the ASTs recommended a Jayhawk helicopter and crew assist in the rescue since it would take approximately two hours for Juneau Mountain Rescue to hike to the men’s location.

While the men waited for the rescue, Sector Juneau watchstanders maintained contact with the men to monitor their condition. The men had an emergency blanket, headlamp, a handheld VHF radio and a backpack. Due to the altitude of their location, the men reported that their water froze and trees were not available for them to make a fire.

An Air Station Sitka helicopter and crew launched and located the men at 11:04 p.m. The rescue swimmer was lowered from the helicopter in the rescue basket and hoisted both men into the helicopter.

The men were delivered to the Juneau National Guard hangar at 11:45 p.m., where they were met by emergency medical services. The men were reported to be in fair condition and exhibiting signs of mild hypothermia.

“The forethought of these men to bring along a functioning radio greatly increased their odds of survival by allowing them to reach out for help when they became stranded,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class Heather Goralczyk, an operations specialist at Sector Juneau. “We encourage all persons, whether hunting or hiking, to ensure they are fully equipped with appropriate safety and survival equipment when venturing into the Alaskan outdoors.”

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