Arctic Guardians rescue plane crash victim at Totek Lake

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

Alaska Air National Guardsmen of the 176th Wing rescued a plane crash victim Oct. 25 at Totek Lake about 75 miles southwest of Fairbanks.

A pilot flying overhead received a distress call from the crashed Taylorcraft single-engine aircraft and reported it to Fairbanks Approach, which then relayed the message to Anchorage Air Route Traffic Control Center. The center then contacted the Alaska Rescue Coordination Center at JBER.

At the request of the AKRCC, 176th Wing launched a 210th Rescue Squadron Detachment 1 HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter from Eielson Air Force Base with 212th Rescue Squadron pararescuemen (PJs) onboard.

The HH-60 crew located the pilot and single occupant near the aircraft, which had broken through ice upon landing, by homing in on the pilot’s emergency signal light. The Pave Hawk landed, and the PJs assisted the hypothermic but uninjured pilot to the helicopter.

The Pave Hawk crew transported the pilot to Fairbanks Memorial Hospital for medical evaluation and treatment.

Alaska Air National Guard Capt. Seth Peterson, AKRCC senior mission controller, said the state’s network of pilots are often helpful in finding and reporting aircraft occupants in distress.

“He effected his own rescue by reaching out on his radio to an aircraft flying overhead,” he said.

The RCC also reminds pilots that even if their emergency locator transmitter is not automatically activated by an incident, manually activating the ELT can help to expedite rescue.

For the mission, 210th RQS, 212th RQS and the AKRCC received credit for one save.