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Alaska National Guard plucks pilot, passenger, mountaineering group from snowy weather

One Good Thing Operation Santa
Posted at 2:13 PM, Jun 04, 2021

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Over the holiday weekend, the Alaska National Guard carried out two rescues in inclement weather, pulling a pilot, a passenger, and 12 mountaineers from snowy mountainsides.

On Saturday, May 29, crews were notified of a callfor help from a pilot and passenger who crashed on Mount Hawkins in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve. The guard was called to help because inclement weather had stopped National Park Service crews from reaching the aircraft.

Rescue attempts continued through the night and day over the weekend, with "seven aircraft flying more than 74 hours and 18 sorties through inclement weather," the guard said in a release about the rescue.

Then, around 2 a.m. local time on Monday, May 31, a crew spotted the survivors using night vision goggles. The pilot and passenger were hoisted up and taken to a hospital in Anchorage.

Then, on June 1, a group of 12 mountaineers was rescued from the Klutlan Glacier area near Mount Bona after spending four days in the wild. Bad weather had delayed efforts to pick them up or drop off supplies.

Officials say two of the mountaineers were experiencing high-altitude sickness and were taken to a hospital in Anchorage, a third person had minor frostbite injuries.

The 12 were part of a group of eight travelers and four guides making their way through the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park.