Coast Guard launches Sitka helicopter crew to rescue hiker from Meade Glacier near Haines

KODIAK, Alaska – The Coast Guard launched an Air Station Sitka MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew for the search and rescue of an extreme hiker on Meade Glacier in the Tongass National Forest east of Haines Monday.

A 28-year-old male from Haines was dropped off alone at Meade Glacier Feb. 20 for a hiking excursion and was scheduled to be picked up Sunday. The ski-plane landed to meet the man as scheduled, but he was not at that location. After taking off, the ski-plane crew was able to locate the man and determine he was approximately seven miles from the pick-up site at an altitude of 4,300 feet.

Due to the rough terrain, the ski-plane was reportedly unable to land. The hiker reported he was tired, weak and had not eaten for four days after the ski-plane pilot dropped to him a hand-held radio.

The Alaska State Troopers notified the Coast Guard 17th District command center about 10:35 a.m. Monday reporting the situation and that a heli-ski company was unable to reach the hiker due to weather conditions in the area. The troopers requested a Coast Guard helicopter crew to assist.

The helicopter crew took off from Sitka about 2:05 p.m. and is scheduled to be on scene in approximately two hours.

Haines is in a winter storm warning until 5 a.m. Tuesday. Snow accumulation is expected from five to 10 inches, winds east to southeast 25 to 35 mph with gusts up to 45 mph. Snow may be heavy at times with visibility reduced to less than one mile.

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