Alaska Air Guard rescues pilot, passenger near Tyonek

Alaska Air Guard rescues pilot, passenger near Tyonek, HH-60 Pave Hawk from the 210th Rescue Squadron
An Alaska Air National Guard HH-60 Pave Hawk, from the 210th Rescue Squadron, performs a simulated search and rescue pattern in Alaska. The 210th Rescue Squadron is part of a network of search-and-rescue organizations that save hundreds of lives in and around Alaska every year. This network includes not only the 210th’s sister squadrons in the 176th Wing, but also such agencies as the U.S. Coast Guard, the Alaska State Troopers, the National Park Service, the Civil Air Patrol and others. Other 210th missions include non-combat search and rescue.

By David Bedard

JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska — Airmen with the Alaska Air National Guard’s 210th and 212th Rescue Squadrons rescued the pilot of a PA-18 aircraft and a passenger Sept. 1 after the plane crashed in the vicinity of the Beluga bench about 28 miles northwest of Tyonek.

According to Alaska Air National Guard Capt. Wes Ladd, Alaska Rescue Coordination Center, the mission was opened following a receipt of the 406 Emergency Locator Transmitter beacon signal from a previously destroyed Cessna 207. Despite the confusion, the AKRCC tasked the Alaska Air National Guard’s 210th and 212th Rescue Squadrons to respond.

An HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter with the 210th RQS launched from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson with two 212th RQS Pararescuemen (PJs). The crew of the Pave Hawk honed in on the 406 ELT signal and found a damage Piper PA-18 and the two occupants sheltered nearby.

The helicopter landed and made contact with the pilot and passenger. After the PJs ensured there were no injuries, they were taken to the Wasilla Airport and released to the Alaska State Troopers.

Ladd would like to remind the aviation community that incorrect information in the 406 ELT database could have made the search effort a longer process. He said users and their maintenance personnel should ensure correct, and current information is maintained in the database to ensure rapid response and coordination with family or friends.

“Despite the confusion due to the information correlated to a destroyed aircraft, we couldn’t rule it out as non-distress,” Ladd said. “We are always obligated to search and effect rescue if needed.”

For this mission, the AKRCC, the 210th and 212th Rescue Squadrons were awarded two saves.

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