Alaska Air National Guard rescues two overdue teens near Trapper Creek

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

Alaska Air National Guardsmen of 176th Wing rescued two individuals reported overdue from a river inner tubing trip near Trapper Creek July 24.

A father of one of the teens contacted the Alaska State Troopers who requested assistance from the Alaska Rescue Coordination Center at JBER. The AKRCC then requested assistance from 176th Wing, and the on-duty search and rescue duty officer dispatched a 210th Rescue Squadron HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter with 212th Rescue Squadron Guardian Angel pararescuemen onboard.

According to an AST news release, the teens departed on their Moose Creek tubing trip at 6:30 p.m. wearing swimwear without life jackets, and they had no communications device.

Alaska Air National Guard Master Sgt. James Seigneur, AKRCC senior controller, said the
HH-60G crew followed the creek to find the two teens on the shore about 70 miles north of Anchorage.

High and dense foliage required the Pave Hawk special missions aviators to pay out the hoist cable 70 feet to deploy Guardian Angels who hoisted up the teens one at a time.

The two were transported to Talkeetna where they were released to Talkeetna Emergency Medical Services, who released the uninjured girls to the father following medical evaluation.

“It was critical for this mission that the teens let loved ones know what their plan was, so we could respond once they were overdue,” Seigneur said. “Additionally, it’s important to carry a satellite communication device and to test it before heading out because cell phone coverage is very limited in Alaska.”

Earlier in the weekend, 176th Wing medically evacuated a motorcyclist injured near McCarthy July 23 about 230 miles east of Anchorage after the McCarthy Emergency Medical Services requested assistance from AKRCC.

AKRCC requested assistance from the wing, and the SARDO dispatched a 211th Rescue Squadron HC-130J Combat King II fixed-wing aircraft and a 210th RQS Pave Hawk, both with 212th RQS Guardian Angels onboard.

The HC-130J air-to-air refueled the HH-60G to extend its range for the nearly 500-mile round trip. With Guardian Angels serving as attending paramedics, the HH-60 transported the motorcyclist to Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage where he was released to medical personnel there.

For the two missions, 210th RQS, 212th RQS and the AKRCC were credited with three saves, and the 211th RQS was credited with one save for the medevac.