Lituya Bay, pictured, is the sight of a Friday helicopter crash that resulted in three people missing. As of Saturday morning, the U.S. Coast Guard had rescued one survivor, a 14-year-old boy. (Coutesy Photo | Mandy Lindeberg, NOAA/NMFS/AKFSC via Flickr)

Lituya Bay, pictured, is the sight of a Friday helicopter crash that resulted in three people missing. As of Saturday morning, the U.S. Coast Guard had rescued one survivor, a 14-year-old boy. (Coutesy Photo | Mandy Lindeberg, NOAA/NMFS/AKFSC via Flickr)

3 missing after Lituya Bay helicopter crash

A boy has been rescued, but the U.S. Coast Guard is still searching for two adults and a child.

Update: The search has been suspended, and the passengers of the helicopter have been identified. Read more here.

The U.S. Coast Guard searched Saturday for three people missing from a helicopter crash Friday near Lituya Bay.

A 14-year-old survivor was flown to Sitka by a USCG Jayhawk helicopter and placed in emergency care. According to a Coast Guard release, the boy showed signs of mild hypothermia but was otherwise in good condition.

Three more people were reported to be on the private helicopter and were expected to arrive in Yakutat Friday. As of Saturday morning, a helicopter from USCG Air Station Sitka along with a civil air patrol aircraft out of Juneau were conducting a search for the remaining people. Coast Guard Cutter Bailey Barco out of Ketchikan searched the water in the vicinity of the crash, and a small boat crew searched the shoreline.

Watchstanders in the Coast Guard 17th District command center in Juneau received word that the aircraft was overdue at about 6:30 p.m. Friday. Air Station Sitka launched a helicopter crew at 8:15 p.m., and searched the area near the last signal from the helicopter’s GPS locater.

The crew located the boy about 3 miles east of Lituya Bay.

Two adults and two adolescents were aboard the crashed helicopter, according to USCG reports. The pilot is reported to have 40 years flying experience, which included Alaska flight time in both fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft, according to the USCG.

A National Parks Service aircraft also patrolled the area on Saturday, according to a Saturday evening NPS press release. The boy survivor was found within the boundaries of the Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, triggering the service’s involvement. Two ground teams with dogs were deployed to search the shoreline.

Lituya Bay lies about 115 miles west of Juneau on the coast of the Gulf of Alaska. According to the Coast Guard, the aircraft that crashed was new from the factory and was being flown from Grand Prairie, Texas, bound for Wasilla.

This article may be updated if more information becomes available.


• Contact reporter Kevin Gullufsen at 523-2228 and kgullufsen@juneauempire.com. Follow him on Twitter at @KevinGullufsen.


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