Coast Guard aircrew, locals rescue 72-year-old hiker near Skagway

Coast Guard Air Station Sitka MH-60 Jayhawk file photo

Coast Guard Air Station Sitka MH-60 Jayhawk file photo

KODIAK, Alaska – A Coast Guard Air Station Sitka MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter aircrew medevaced a 72-year-old woman from Chilkoot Pass approximately 15 miles northeast of Skagway, Saturday evening.

The aircrew safely transported the injured woman to awaiting emergency medical services personnel in Juneau and she was reported in stable condition upon transfer.

Coast Guard Sector Juneau command center watchstanders received notification from Skagway Alaska State Troopers for assistance in medically evacuating an elderly woman with a leg injury that she reported sustaining while hiking the Chilkoot Trail. Due to the terrain, commercial services were unable to assist. In response, Sector personnel requested a helicopter crew and District 17 command center staff directed the launch of the aircraft.

“The survivors in this case were very prepared for several days of challenging hiking,” said Lt. Kyle Johnson, a copilot on the case. “After the woman sustained injuries, they activated a personal locator beacon which gave us their exact coordinates. Additionally, when the helicopter arrived on scene they activated a strobe light which allowed us to see them almost immediately. You never plan to have a bad day in the outdoors, but if you’re prepared you can aid rescue crews and avoid a potentially life-threatening situation.”

On-scene weather was 9-mph winds, 10 miles visibility, clear skies and an air temperature of 68 degrees.

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