Coast Guard rescues helicopter crash survivor, searches for others near Lituya Bay

Coast Guard Cutter Bailey Barco file photo

Coast Guard Cutter Bailey Barco file photo

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — The Coast Guard rescued a survivor of a helicopter crash Friday near Lituya Bay, Alaska, and is searching for three potential others Saturday.

The 14-year-old survivor was flown to Sitka by a Coast Guard Air Station Sitka MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew and placed in the care of awaiting EMS. He displayed signs of mild hypothermia but was reported to be in good condition.

An additional Air Station Sitka MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew is searching Saturday along with a Civil Air Patrol aircraft crew out of Juneau, for three others who were aboard the helicopter when it went down.

The crew of Coast Guard Cutter Bailey Barco out of Ketchikan is searching the water in the vicinity of the crash, and their small boat crew is searching the shoreline.

Watchstanders in the Coast Guard 17th District command center in Juneau initially received an overdue aircraft alert at about 6:30 p.m. Friday from the Juneau Flight Service Station. The alert stated a private helicopter with four people aboard expected to arrive in Yakutat Friday had not arrived.

A Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew launched from Air Station Sitka at 8:15 p.m. The crew learned the last known position of the aircraft due to the signal of a GPS locator. The Coast Guard helicopter crew landed on the beach about 3 miles east of Lituya Bay, where the crew’s rescue swimmer located the boy.

“We did not locate any other survivors tonight but the Coast Guard and others will conduct a thorough search Saturday,” said Lt. Kellen Browne, helicopter co-pilot for Friday’s rescue.

Two adults and two adolescents were aboard the crashed helicopter that was reported to be brand new out of the factory. The pilot is reported to have 40 years flying experience including Alaska flight time in both fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft.

The new helicopter was on a trip that originated in Grand Prairie, Texas, and was bound for Wasilla.

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