Alaska Air National Guard finds, rescues hypothermic hunter near Seward

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

Alaska Air National Guardsmen of the 176th Wing found and rescued a hypothermic hunter Sept. 20 at Paradise Lakes about 25 miles northeast of Seward.

The individual left the party of three other individuals to seek shelter and was separated from the group. The party used a two-way satellite communication device to notify the Alaska State Troopers of their distress.

LifeMed Alaska was able to evacuate the three other hunters, and the Alaska State Troopers reported the fourth hunter as missing, requesting 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, Alaska Air National Guard Capt. Dan Warren, dispatched a 210th Rescue Squadron HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter with 212th Rescue Squadron Guardian Angel pararescuemen (PJs) onboard.

The crew of the HH-60 flew to a cabin at Paradise Lakes where the other hunters said the missing hunter was headed. They found the hunter, landed, the PJs extracted him, and they evacuated him to the Providence Seward Medical Center.

Warren credited the party for carrying a satellite communication device that allowed them to call for help beyond cell tower range. He urged people going into the outdoors to be ready for rapidly changing weather.

“Especially in September, Alaska always has a say,” he said. “Summer is over. Preparation is everything. Hunters and hikers flown into a location without road access should always carry a means to shelter with ample protection against changing wind, rain and temperatures.”

For the mission, 210th RQS, 212th RQS and the AKRCC were credited with one save.