JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska –
Alaska Air National Guardsmen of the 176th Wing rescued two lost hikers May 25 on the Resurrection Pass Trail about 30 miles south of Anchorage on the Kenai Peninsula.
The mission opened in response to a request for assistance from the Alaska State Troopers to the Alaska Rescue Coordination Center.
At the request of the AKRCC, Alaska Air National Guardsmen of 210th, 211th and 212th Rescue Squadrons launched on a 210th RQS HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter and a 211th RQS HC-130J Combat King II from JBER.
The HC-130 flew ahead of the HH-60 for weather reconnaissance as low visibility and inclement weather blanketed the region.
The AKRCC was in contact with the hikers via their satellite phone. The hikers reported they lost orientation, weren’t confident they could navigate through the snow, and were wet and cold from falling into the water. The AKRCC asked the hikers to turn on their headlamps to assist the HH-60 crew in finding them.
The HH-60 crew located the hikers and airlanded the 212th RQS pararescuemen to assess and bring them onboard. The Pave Hawk transported the hikers to Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage.
Alaska Air National Guard Capt. Brent Kramer, AKRCC senior controller, said the hikers having satellite-enabled two-way communication was key in expediting the rescue effort.
“When Jolly [HH-60] was getting near the hikers, they said they could hear the rotors, which helped the crew know they were close,” he said. “Having a sat-phone was critical for a good outcome for the hikers.”
For this mission, 210th RQS, 211th RQS, 212th RQS and the AKRCC received credit for two saves.