Coast Guard hoists injured climber near Juneau, Alaska

Coast Guard Air Station Sitka MH-60 Jayhawk file photo

Coast Guard Air Station Sitka MH-60 Jayhawk file photo

JUNEAU, Alaska – The Coast Guard rescued an injured climber who fell while climbing at Mendenhall Towers outside Juneau, Friday.

The climber was hoisted by an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Sitka, then flown to an awaiting Capital City Fire and Rescue crew in Juneau. He was transported to the hospital and was reported to be in critical condition.

Watchstanders in the Coast Guard Sector Juneau command center received the request to hoist the climber from Alaska State Troopers at approximately 2:30 a.m., and the aircrew placed the patient in the care of EMS at approximately 4:40 a.m.

“We were able to locate the climbers due to good communications via cell phone with Coast Guard Sector Juneau’s command center,” said Cmdr. Michael Frawley, aircraft commander for the case and commanding officer of Air Station Sitka. “This allowed us to then quickly locate the scene after we spotted one of the climbers at an approximate 6,000-foot elevation, waving a bright-colored jacket and a blinking light, while he stood on a sheer cliff. The actions of the injured climber’s partners in signaling our helicopter, and the vertical surface training and skill of my crew were the critical factors to this, frankly, miraculous rescue. We have been told his condition remains critical and we hope his situation continues to improve.”


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