Alaska Air National Guardsmen from the 176th Wing rescued a victim from a car accident on Oct. 7, then rescued two other individuals from a plane crash on the same outing, according to a statement from the wing.
Providence Medical Group, the state’s largest hospital system, put in a request on Oct. 7 to the Alaska Rescue Coordination Center for a medical evacuation of a car crash victim from Seward to Anchorage. Severe weather, however, kept civilian air ambulances grounded.
The center then turned to the Alaska Air National Guard, which dispatched a 210th Rescue Squadron HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter carrying pararescuemen from the 212th Rescue Squadron.
“Time is critical with injuries in this case,” Alaska Air National Guard Staff Sgt. Jared Isaacson said in the statement. “We needed to get [one victim] to surgery fast, but we wanted to ensure she was stable enough for the flight. We had to stabilize her blood pressure before we felt comfortable moving her and we had to make sure our monitors were reading the same thing as the hospital’s.”
After delivering the patient to the hospital in Anchorage, the helicopter was rerouted to rescue two victims of a plane crash 65 miles west of the city, according to the statement. A Piper PA-18 had crashed in the vicinity of Beluga Lake and automatically triggered the Super Cub’s onboard 406 Emergency Locator Transmitter.
An HC-130J Combat King II aircraft with the 211th Rescue Squadron was initially dispatched and located the crashed PA-18. The HH-60 crew and pararescuemen then landed at the crash site and loaded the uninjured plane crash victims into the helicopter.
Air Force Times previously reported the 176th Wing has performed more than 2,000 civilian search and rescues since assuming search and rescue duties in Alaska nearly three decades ago. The unit is credited with saving more than 1,750 lives.
For the two missions, the 210th Rescue Squadron, 212th Rescue Squadron and the AKRCC received credited for three saves. The 211th Rescue Squadron was also credited with two saves, according to the statement.
Zamone “Z” Perez is a rapid response reporter and podcast producer at Defense News and Military Times. He previously worked at Foreign Policy and Ufahamu Africa. He is a graduate of Northwestern University, where he researched international ethics and atrocity prevention in his thesis. He can be found on Twitter @zamoneperez.