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Alaska Air National Guard Assists in Helicopter Crash Rescue

CAMP DENALI, Alaska -- The Alaska Air National Guard today helped to recover and
transport the survivor of a helicopter crash near Sheep Mountain to a local
hospital for treatment. 

According to the Rescue Coordination Center, a helicopter crash site was located by the Alaska State Troopers Helo 1 helicopter around 7:30 a.m. Helo 1 then picked up Alaska Air National Guard pararescuemen from the 212th Rescue Squadron, who were conducting a ground search of the area on snowmachine, and took the pararescuemen to the crash scene. 

Pararescuemen found one survivor, who was immediately flown to Mat-Su Regional Hospital by Helo 1. Troopers reported that the survivor was a passenger on the Era helicopter, and reports to the RCC indicated that he was in an unstable condition. 

This rescue mission kicked off around noon Tuesday when an emergency locator transmitter signal was picked up by the RCC. The RCC confirmed that no overdue aircraft were reported nor were any lodges in the area expecting aircraft at this time. The Gulkana Civil Air Patrol was launched to find the source of the ELT. The search aircraft was able to get within one mile of the source of the ELT but had to turn around due to bad weather. 

Meanwhile, scattered reports indicated that an Era Aviation helicopter was transporting workers from the State of Alaska's Department of Administration's Enterprise Technology Services near the Sheep Mountain area. 

The RCC tasked an HC-130 from the Alaska Air National Guard's 211th Rescue Squadron and an HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter from the 210th Rescue Squadron, both with pararescuemen onboard, to search for the source of the ELT signal. The HH-60 was only able to get to the Palmer area before it had to return to Kulis Air National Guard Base because of weather. The HC-130 was able to get overhead of the ELT but could get no ground visual also because of weather and returned to Kulis as well. 

After returning to Kulis, three pararescuemen loaded up snowmachines and drove north to conduct a nighttime ground search of the ELT signal area. 

Helo 1 was launched again this morning and spotted the Era helicopter crash scene around 7:30 a.m. One survivor was recovered by pararescuemen and taken by Helo 1 to a local hospital, where the patient was handed over to hospital personnel around 9 a.m. 

Four other people who were on the helicopter are reported to be deceased. 

According to the RCC, Helo 1 plans to take Troopers and the NTSB to the crash scene for an investigation. 

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