News: Alaska Air National Guard rescues 5 near Knik River
Story by Sgt. Balinda O'Neal
JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska - Airmen with the Alaska Air National Guard’s 210th and 212th Rescue Squadrons rescued five individuals who were stranded near the Knik River, March 2.
According to the Alaska Rescue Coordination Center, the individuals were recreating near Knik River when their Argo all-terrain vehicle became stuck in an ice floe. The party then used a cellphone to contact Alaska State Troopers.
AST were unable to respond because of night restrictions and the lack of hoist capability and requested support from the Alaska RCC at 11:35 p.m. March 1.
“Local rescue teams were unable to reach the victims because of thin ice,” said Senior Master Sgt. Robert Carte, superintendent of the Alaska RCC, Alaska Air National Guard. “A helicopter extraction was decided to be the safest extraction method.”
The Alaska Air National Guard responded by launching an HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter from the 210th Rescue Squadron with a team of Guardian Angels from the 212th Rescue Squadron, from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.
The victims were hoisted one at a time from the ARGO, evaluated by the 212th pararescuemen and transported to the Mat-Su Regional Medical Center where they were released to AST.
The Alaska Air National Guardsmen then returned to JBER at 2:55 a.m. March 2.
"In this case, the stranded party was lucky to be in cellphone range to call for help," Carte said. "Due to limited cell service across the state, and because batteries sometimes die, we always recommend Alaskans file a trip plan with a responsible third party that can notify authorities if you become overdue."
For the mission, the members of the 210th and 212th Rescue Squadrons were awarded five saves.