Alaska Air National Guard flies ill patient to hospital

  • Published
  • By Maj. Chelsea Aspelund,
  • 176th Wing Public Affairs

JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska – Alaska Air National Guardsmen from the 176th Wing evacuated a patient experiencing a medical emergency in Stony River, a village more than 200 miles north of Bethel on the Kuskokwim River, Oct. 26.

A medical provider at a Bethel area hospital requested assistance from the Alaska Rescue Coordination Center after civilian air ambulance partners were unable to land at Stony River Airport.

“No health aid was available in the village, so the patient’s neighbor contacted a Bethel area hospital to request emergency medical services,” said Senior Master Sgt. Evan Budd, AKRCC superintendent.

The AKRCC coordinated with the 176th Wing to dispatch a 210th Rescue Squadron HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter with a 212th Rescue Squadron Guardian Angel team of pararescuemen on board.

Due to the distance from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson to Stony River Airport, a 211th Rescue Squadron HC-130J Combat King II aircraft was also dispatched to refuel the Pave Hawk in the air.

“Stony River Airport is one of many in the state without runway lighting, so this limits a number of our partner search and rescue platforms from landing there,” Budd said. “Fortunately, the Pave Hawk is able to hover and hoist a Guardian Angel team or to land without lights, depending on the situation.”

The 176th Wing rescue triad safely landed at Stony River Airport, provided on-site medical care and flew the patient to an Anchorage area hospital for higher medical care.

For this rescue, the AKRCC, 210th RQS, 211th RQS and 212th RQS were awarded one save.