ON GUARD – Staff Sgt. George Kendall of the Alaska National Guard in Anchorage, left, helps attendees at the Sitka Armory open house dress up in military police riot gear Wednesday night. The open house included information on the Guard's Explorer after-school program, which teaches leadership skills. The free program is open to high school students between the ages of 14 and 20. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

C.G. Rescues 2 Stranded Near Haines

By Sentinel Staff

A Coast Guard Air Station Sitka helicopter rescued two stranded, hypothermic mine workers Saturday on the Tsirku River, 23 miles north of Haines, the Coast Guard said today.

The two men became stranded Friday afternoon when their vessel swamped and became submerged as they were transferring mining equipment in a remote section of the property. 

The Coast Guard said the two made a shelter in a ditch about 250 yards from the water, but were having difficulty maintaining their fire and became hypothermic.

Alaska State Troopers called for the Coast Guard to rescue the men Saturday morning. They were picked up and flown to Juneau. Both were “mildly hypothermic” at the time of the transfer.

 

The Coast Guard commented in a news release:

“This is one of those cases that reminds us how important it is to prepare for any outdoor activity here in Alaska,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Dave Hastings, an avionics electrical technician on the case. “Having the proper equipment and clothing was their saving grace in this situation. Despite the degraded weather, we were still able to communicate and triumph over the severe winter weather.”

 

At the time of the rescue, winds were blowing over 20 mph, temperatures were low with freezing conditions, and visibility was low.

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