DVIDS – News – Alaska Army National Guard rescues four boaters stranded on Kuskokwim River

A UH-60L Black Hawk helicopter crew with 1st Alaska Army National Guard Battalion, 207th Aviation Regiment, rescued four individuals and a dog this morning after they became stranded in a boat on the Kuskokwim River near Bethel, Alaska.

At around 1 a.m., the Alaska Rescue Coordination Center on JBER contacted the 207th AVN, stating that the Alaskan State Soldiers had requested assistance with the rescue mission of four boaters. stranded.

“The individuals were stranded on the river between Bethel and Kwethluk because of the rupture,” said Lt. Col. Michele Edwards, State Army Aviation Officer, Army National Guard. Alaska. “There were areas of ice that prevented them from going any further.

Edwards explained that the boaters managed to get a call for help, but their phone died at some point between the call for help and the subsequent rescue mission. Despite this, Alaska State soldiers were able to provide the Rescue Coordination Center with a rough grid coordinate.

“Boaters knew the general area of ​​where they were, but didn’t have an exact location,” Edwards explained.

After accepting the mission, the 207th AVN crew launched a lift-capable UH-60L Black Hawk medevac helicopter from the Alaska National Guard aviation facility in Bethel. The Black Hawk was deployed to Bethel about two weeks ago, specifically to provide a lifesaving asset for the region during the 2021 spring flood season, and in this case, the waters were already getting problematic.

“The medevac crew located the boaters, but decided the waters were too high and too fast to hoist the medic directly onto the boat,” said Edwards. “There was a lot of runoff from the river so they found a small strip of land that was near them and determined that was the best option to get the doctor to their location quickly and safely.

Edwards explained that after the medic was hoisted onto the nearby strip of land – essentially a small island in the river – the medic then guided the boaters and their dog to his location and lifted them up one by one. Once the individuals were hoisted into the helicopter, the doctor estimated that the boaters were in the early stages of hypothermia.

“The doctor started treating the individuals by giving them warm blankets and helping them rehydrate,” she says. “Once they were all safe on board, the crew returned them to the Bethel hangar, where they were then handed over to the Alaskan State soldiers.

For this mission, the 207th AVN was rewarded with four stops.

Date taken: 05.10.2021
Date posted: 05.11.2021 13:14
Story ID: 396127
Location: BETHEL, AK, United States

Web Views: 18
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