A Coast Guardsmen rescues a 70-year-old man who fell off Mt. Verstovia while hiking on March 26, 2022. (Screenshot / USCG)

A Coast Guardsmen rescues a 70-year-old man who fell off Mt. Verstovia while hiking on March 26, 2022. (Screenshot / USCG)

Coast Guard rescues 70-year-old hiker near Sitka after 200-foot fall

The man fell several hundred feet, according to the Coast Guard

A Coast Guard helicopter crew rescued a man near Sitka after a long fall down a hillside near Sitka.

The MH-60 Jayhawk crew, which launched from Air Station Sitka, medically evacuated the 70-year-old man, who fell approximately 200 feet, to civilian emergency personnel.

“Watchstanders at the Coast Guard Sector Juneau command center received a call from a Sitka Mountain Rescue crew at 12:08 p.m., requesting assistance to locate, hoist, and transport the hiker,” said a Coast Guard news release from District 17. “The hiker initially managed to call 911 using his cell phone and the Sitka Mountain Rescue dispatched a team to the mountain to attempt to locate the individual.”

The aircrew was able to rapidly find the fallen man on a slope of Mount Verstovia, located only a few miles east of downtown Sitka.

“There’s complexities to every rescue,” said Coast Guard public affairs specialist Petty Officer 1st Class Ali Blackburn in a phone interview. “With this one, the fear of avalanches was prevalent.”

The rescue was rapid. taking only 45 minutes from launch to landing, according to the Coast Guard.

“Our working relationship with local partner agencies such as the Sitka Mountain Rescue team is an important component to successfully coordinating and completing rescues in Alaska,” said Coast Guard pilot Lt. Jonathan Orthman in the news release.

• Contact reporter Michael S. Lockett at 757-621-1197 or mlockett@juneauempire.com.

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