A Coast Guard Air Station Sitka MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter aircrew medevacs a patient from Wrangell to Sitka, Alaska, July 17, 2018. (Courtesy photo | Stephen Prysunka)

A Coast Guard Air Station Sitka MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter aircrew medevacs a patient from Wrangell to Sitka, Alaska, July 17, 2018. (Courtesy photo | Stephen Prysunka)

Coast Guard rescues overdue Hoonah hunters

Responders advise using GPS, taking survival gear when hunting

Two hunters are safe after getting stranded near Hoonah on Sunday, according to authorities.

At about 7:15 p.m. Sunday, U.S. Coast Guard Sector Juneau personnel got a call that two hunters were about six hours overdue from a trip near Hoonah. The men were identified as 35-year-old Levi Mills and 34-year-old Ian Smith, both of Hoonah, according to an email from Alaska State Troopers Public Information Officer Megan Peters.

Lt. Brian Dykens, public affairs officer for the Coast Guard, said the two hunters hadn’t returned to their parked vehicle and they were believed to have left their survival gear in the car. All they had were regular clothing and their weapons, Dykens said. Dykens said it wasn’t clear what happened to the men to make them overdue.

Coast Guard personnel sent an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter from Air Station Sitka, Dykens said, to look for the men. Peters said a Hoonah-based Alaska Wildlife Trooper helped guide the helicopter to the general area where the hunters were believed to be. The teamwork worked, as the helicopter found the men in about 10 minutes, Dykens said.

The City of Hoonah volunteer fire department also assisted in the search, according to a tweet from the U.S. Coast Guard Alaska.

The men were hoisted up into the helicopter and taken to the Hoonah unharmed, Dykens said.

Dykens said there are two standard safety messages the Coast Guard has for people after this. First, it’s a good idea to keep something other than a cellphone with you — a GPS device or locating beacon of some sort. Secondly, it’s important to have a plan and to notify others of your plan. In this case, the two hunters had told somebody when they were supposed to return, Dykens said, and the person or people who were notified called authorities.

Lastly, it’s a good idea to prepare for the worst even if you’re just going on a routine excursion, Dykens said.

“This one turned out well, but you always like to have that survival gear with you,” Dykens said.


• Contact reporter Alex McCarthy at 523-2271 or amccarthy@juneauempire.com. Follow him on Twitter at @akmccarthy.


More in News

Jasmine Chavez, a crew member aboard the Quantum of the Seas cruise ship, waves to her family during a cell phone conversation after disembarking from the ship at Marine Park on May 10. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
Ships in port for the week of July 20

Here’s what to expect this week.

Police and other emergency officials treat Steven Kissack after he was shot on Front Street on Monday, July 15, 2024. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
Names of officers involved in death of Steven Kissack released, along with more details of standoff

JPD states Kissack punched a person the previous day, threatened to kill officers when confronted.

U.S. Rep. Mary Peltola, D-Alaska, speaks on Jan. 4, 2024, at a town hall meeting on the possible Albertsons-Kroger grocery merger. The meeting was held at the Teamsters Local 959 headquarters in Anchorage. Peltola said on Tuesday she has not decided whether to support her party’s likely candidate, Vice President Kamala Harris. (Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)
Rep. Mary Peltola withholds support for Kamala Harris, is ‘keeping an open mind’

Congresswoman says she’s considering Harris presidency’s affect on Alaska as an oil-dependent state.

People arrive for a service at Resurrection Lutheran Church on Sunday. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Lawsuit: Resurrection Lutheran Church leaders have been ousted, clarity in ‘ministerial work’ needed

Pastor Karen Perkins, two others targeted in long-brewing feud at church known for helping homeless.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Sunday, July 21, 2024

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Saturday, July 20, 2024

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Friday, July 19, 2024

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Michele Stuart Morgan (right), a Juneau Board of Education candidate, signs a qualifying petition for Jeff Redmond (center), who is also seeking one of three school board seats in the Oct. 1 municipal election, just before Monday’s filing deadline at City Hall. At left, Deputy Municipal Clerk Diane Cathcart processes last-minute paperwork filed by candidates. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Here’s the candidates certified for the Oct. 1 municipal election ballot as the filing deadline passes

Two running for mayor, seven for two Assembly seats, six for three school board seats.

A U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Sitka helicopter hovers over Sitka Sound during routine hoist training on April 25, 2023. (Lt. Cmdr. Wryan Webb/U.S. Coast Guard)
Coast Guard calls off search for trio who went missing flying from Juneau to Yakutat

Haines pilot Samuel Wright, Yakutat residents Hans Munich and Tanya Hutchins were on plane.

Most Read