Arctic Guardians rescue 3 plane crash victims from 2 same-day incidents

  • Published
  • By David Bedard
  • 176th Wing Public Affairs

Alaska Air National Guardsmen of the 176th Wing rescued three plane crash victims in two incidents July 27 — one near Tustumena Lake about 70 miles south of Anchorage and the other near Chakachamna Lake about 90 miles west of Anchorage.

The first mission with two occupants opened in response to the Super Cub’s 406 MHz Emergency Locator Transmitter that was activated during the crash near Tustumena Lake. The second mission with a single occupant opened in response to another Super Cub’s 406 ELT. 

At the request of the Alaska Rescue Coordination Center, Alaska Air National Guardsmen of 210th and 212th Rescue Squadrons launched on an HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter.

The Super Cub pilot used an inReach satellite communications device to talk with AKRCC controllers, providing them with critical information.

The 210th RQS located the crash site and landed before loading the survivors, and 212th RQS pararescuemen assessed the injured occupant. The other occupant was uninjured.

The HH-60 crew transported the two survivors to Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage where they were released to medical personnel.

For the second mission, 176th Wing launched a 210th RQS HH-60 and a 211th RQS HC-130J Combat King II, which refueled the Pave Hawk to give the helicopter the endurance needed for a second sortie.

The HH-60 located the wreckage, landed and extracted the uninjured pilot.

The crew transported the survivor to the Birchwood Airport north of Anchorage and released him to the Anchorage Police Department.

Alaska Air National Guard Capt. Seth Peterson, AKRCC senior controller, stressed the importance of keeping 406 ELT registration information up to date to expedite rescue operations. He said it is helpful having multiple means of satellite communication such as a 406 ELT, a satellite phone, or a satellite device with text capability.

“The more the better,” he said. “If you have a registered 406, and we can talk to you, it makes for a smoother rescue operation.”

For these missions, 210th RQS, 212th RQS and the AKRCC received credit for three saves. For the second mission, 211th RQS received credit for one save.