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A Coast Guard MH-60 crew rescue an skier mauled by bear near Haines, Alaska

A Coast Guard MH-60 crew rescue an skier mauled by bear near Haines, Alaska
Archive image: Sitka, Alaska (Dec.11, 2006) — An MH-60 Jayhawk aircrew, from Coast Guard Air Station Sitka, conducts a SAR training flight.
Search and Rescue (SAR) is one of the Coast Guard’s oldest missions to minimizing the loss of life, injury, property damage or loss by rendering aid to persons in distress and property in the maritime environment has always been a Coast Guard priority.
U.S. Coast Guard photo by AET1 William Greer.

HAINES, Alaska​ —​ A Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk aircrew rescue a skier from backcountry near Haines, Alaska, Saturday after he was mauled by a bear.

An MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from Air Station Sitka hoisted the man who suffered injuries to his head and hands after being attacked on a mountain during a backcountry skiing outing. He was flown to Juneau and placed in the care of awaiting EMS.

Coast Guard watchstanders in the Sector Juneau command center received an agency assist request for the helicopter hoist from Alaska State Troopers
at about 3:20 p.m. Saturday.

The MH-60 Jayhawk rescue helicopter crew located the man and two other skiers in his party about 10 miles northwest of Haines at an elevation of 1,600 feet, just above Chilkoot Lake.

The aircrew lowered a rescue swimmer to evaluate the skier’s condition, then used a litter to hoist him. The rescue swimmer and flight corpsman provided medical care to the man during the transit to Juneau for higher medical care.

An MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from Air Station Sitka, Alaska, hoists an injured man who was mauled by a bear while backcountry skiing near Haines, Alaska, Saturday, February 6, 2021. The man was flown to Juneau and placed in the care of awaiting EMS.
U.S. Coast Guard video Air Station Sitka video.

The other two skiers did not need assistance and continued down the mountain on their own.

The man’s condition​ is not known to the Coast Guard at the time of this release, but he was responsive and talking at the time of the hoist.

«The other two members in the patient’s skiing party had the proper equipment and knowledge to assist with his injuries and communicate for help in 15 degree temperatures with sunset approaching,» said Lt. Cmdr. Will Sirokman, co-pilot for the case. «Their satellite communication device provided the precise GPS coordinates and elevation of their location. Equally important, they had brightly colored fabric to signal the helicopter as we approached. This was absolutely crucial to us finding them in a timely manner.»

Helicopter crews at Air Station Sitka regularly practice precision hoisting in rough terrain. Aircrews receive medical training and are outfitted with inland search-and-rescue equipment.


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