JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska –
The Alaska Army National Guard’s 1st Battalion, 207th Aviation Regiment, rescued a distressed hunter at Tyone River, which is located approximately 35 miles northwest of Lake Louise, Sept. 9.
The distressed individual, a 59-year-old male who was hunting near the Susitna River with a small group of people, was experiencing cardiac issues. He used an inReach satellite communication device to send a distress call, which went to the Alaska State Troopers. The AST contacted the Alaska Rescue Coordination Center at around 7 a.m., who then tasked the 207th AVN.
The medevac aircrew received the mission notification from the AKRCC at around 8:00 a.m., and were able to take off in about an hour, according to Lt. Col. Michele Edwards, the state Army aviation officer.
A UH-60L Black Hawk helicopter from Detachment 2, G Company, 2nd Battalion, 211th Aviation Regiment, with two pilots, one crew chief and a paramedic, departed Bryant Army Airfield here at approximately 9:05 a.m. Shortly thereafter, they arrived at the pickup location, where the paramedic assessed the distressed hunter on the ground.
“I was really impressed with the crew’s responsiveness and ability to get out the door quickly and safely,” said Edwards.
“We weren’t completely certain when we departed base how long the pickup would take, what the severity of the rescue call was, or exact weather conditions,” said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Paul Gillquist, one of the helicopter pilots on the mission. “Due to that, we had him transferred to a LifeMed aircraft at Gulkana Airport versus having him wait in the helicopter while we refueled.”
Once the individual had been transferred to a LifeMed aircraft, he was flown to Merrill Field in Anchorage, and released to Providence Hospital.
Gillquist stressed the importance of carrying emergency communication devices for those who plan to be in remote areas of the state.
“That could have potentially saved his life,” he said.
The AKRCC and 207th AVN were awarded one save for this mission.