A Coast Guard aircrew stationed at Coast Guard Air Station Sitka flying an MH-60 Jayhawk like the one pictured medevac’d a 12-year-old boy who suffered an injury while hiking near Haines on Wednesday evening.
“We were already flying when we got the call. We were nearby Sitka so we stopped to refuel,” said Lt. Cmdr Will Sirokman, pilot of the aircraft. “The weather was pretty decent, so we were able to get up to that lake in less than an hour.”
Emergency calls from other partners agencies are routed to Coast Guard District 17’s command center, Sirokman said, before a decision whether CGAS Sitka’s MH-60 Jayhawks can assist is made. Once that call was made, Sirokman and his flight crew landed, refueled, and flew for Paradise Lake.
“We were able to contact them from the helicopter on their cell phone to confirm their position. It was approaching sunset when we got there,” Sirokman said. “We had a good position for them and they had lights. We found them right away.”
The flight crew had been practicing hoisting casualties and landing in confined landing zones, Sirokman said, which facilitated the rescue.
“We were able to land, which made things quicker. We were only on scene for seven minutes,” Sirokman said. “We were able to load up the kid and his mom and get right out of there. We took him over to Juneau and handed him over to EMS.”
Sirokman said that this summer has been busy for search and rescue missions, but within normal tolerances.
“We’re pretty much tracking exactly what we did last summer. Since the beginning of June, we’ve had 31 cases, which is busy, but normal,” Sirokman said. “The one piece we’re missing this summer is the cruise ships.”
• Contact reporter Michael S. Lockett at 757-621-1197 or email@example.com.