A helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Sitka, flying an MH-60 Jayhawk like the one above, rescued a backcountry skier who was attacked by a bear outside of Haines on Feb. 6, 2021. (Petty Officer 1st Class Jon-Paul Rios | U.S. Coast Guard)

A helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Sitka, flying an MH-60 Jayhawk like the one above, rescued a backcountry skier who was attacked by a bear outside of Haines on Feb. 6, 2021. (Petty Officer 1st Class Jon-Paul Rios | U.S. Coast Guard)

Coast Guard rescues skier mauled by bear near Haines

The man is currently in stable condition at Bartlett Regional Hospital.

The Coast Guard medevaced a skier out of the wilderness near Haines Saturday after the man was attacked by a bear, the Coast Guard announced.

The man is in stable condition and currently admitted at Bartlett Regional Hospital, said BRH spokesperson Katie Bausler in an email.

The Coast Guard scrambled an MH-60 Jayhawk from Coast Guard Air Station Sitka after receiving a request for assistance from the Alaska State Troopers around 3:20 p.m., the Coast Guard said in a news release. The flight crew was able to rapidly localize the injured man, whose identity was note released, due to the skiers’ preparedness.

“The other two members in the patient’s skiing party had the proper equipment and knowledge to assist with his injuries and communicate for help in 15 degree temperatures with sunset approaching,” said Lt. Cmdr. Will Sirokman, co-pilot for the case, in the release. “Their satellite communication device provided the precise GPS coordinates and elevation of their location. Equally important, they had brightly colored fabric to signal the helicopter as we approached. This was absolutely crucial to us finding them in a timely manner.”

The recovery occurred near Chilkoot Lake, roughly 10 miles northwest of Haines at around 1,600 feet above sea level, according to the Coast Guard. The flight crew lowered their rescue swimmer with a rescue basket to smoothly hoist the injured man. The man was evacuated to Juneau for more advanced medical care.

The man was conscious and capable of speech during the transport, according to the Coast Guard. The other two skiers with the victim were able to proceed on without assistance.

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

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