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Alaska Air National Guard HH-60G rescue hypothermic mariner off Kodiak

Alaska Air National Guard HH-60G Pave Hawk aircrew rescue a mariner off Kodiak
Alaska Air National Guard HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter aircrew rescue a mariner off Kodiak.
Archive image: Alaska Air National Guard HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter aviators assigned to the 210th Rescue Squadron hoist two 212th Rescue Squadron pararescuemen during underway hoist training in the Prince William Sound near Whittier, Alaska, May 16, 2024.
The Airmen of the 212th RQS are trained, equipped, and postured to conduct full-spectrum personnel recovery to include both conventional and unconventional rescue operations.
The 212th, along with the 210th and 211th RQSs, make up the 176th Wing Rescue Triad and are among the busiest combat search and rescue units in the world.
Alaska National Guard photo by Alejandro Peña.
Story by David Bedard, 176th Wing 

JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska — An Alaska Air National Guard HH-60G Pave Hawk aircrew from the 176th Wing rescue a hypothermic mariner about 20 nautical miles southwest of Kodiak Island.

The boating party was in a vessel that capsized, triggering an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon distress signal to the U.S. Coast Guard 17th District Rescue Coordination Center. Four survivors sought refuge in a life raft, but only three were equipped with dry suits. 

The Coast Guard requested helicopter support through the Alaska Rescue Coordination Center (AKRCC) at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson. The 176th Wing search and rescue duty officer dispatched a 210th Rescue Squadron HH-60G Pave Hawk and a 211th Rescue Squadron HC-130J Combat King II, both with 212th Rescue Squadron Guardian Angel personnel recovery Airmen onboard.

Good Samaritans in the fishing vessel M/V Polar Star picked up the four survivors, and a Coast Guard HC-130J Super Hercules established communications with the fishing vessel and relayed updated coordinates to the AKRCC.

The HC-130J Combat King II refueled the HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter in the air to give it the range to cover the 370-plus miles from JBER to the fishing vessel.

Once on scene, the HH-60G rescue helicopter hoisted the Guardian Angels to the fishing vessel. They assessed the hypothermic patient’s condition before hoisting him up into the helicopter and flying him to Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage.

Alaska Air National Guard Maj. Duane Griffith, AKRCC director of operations, stressed the importance of mariners having and registering an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon.

“The EPIRB automatically activated and provided rescuers precise coordinates for us to begin our search,” Griffith said. “Fortunately, Alaskans often take care of Alaskans in need, and Good Samaritans helped with a good outcome.”

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