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‘Forward-deployed’ Coast Guard Helicopter Crews Help Rescue 6 People In Two Searches

Brian Dykens/U.S. Coast Guard

Coast Guard personnel based out of Kotzebue helped rescue six people Monday in two emergency operations in northwest Alaska.

A Coast Guard news release says the first operation began at 11:30 a.m. Monday with a call from Alaska State Troopers for help rescuing four people who were reportedly aboard a small disabled vessel that was adrift in a lagoon about 150 miles southwest of Kotzebue.
A crew flying a Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter located the four, stranded on the south shore of the Imuruk Lagoon, near where they’d managed to run their 18-foot skiff aground after its engine malfunctioned. The aircrew landed on the beach, checked the condition of the boat passengers and waited until a volunteer search and rescue crew from Brevig Mission arrived.
At 8 p.m. Monday, a second MH-60 Jayhawk crew joined a search and rescue operation to locate two people reported missing on a trip from Point Hope to Kivalina. The aircrew located the two in a cabin about 26 miles south of Point Hope. They were later evacuated by North Slope Search and Rescue and ground search-team personnel.
According to the news release, the two operations show how the Coast Guard’s “forward-deployed” contingent in Kotzebue can coordinate with state and local agencies and respond quickly during Arctic search and rescues.
Forward Operating Location Kotzebue consists of two MH-60 Jayhawks from Air Station Kodiak, along with air and ground crews based out of the Alaska Army National Guard Hangar in Kotzebue. The aircraft and personnel will remain in Kotzebue throughCoast Guard Arctic Shield 2017, an Arctic field-training exercise that runs through the summer.      



Tim has worked in the news business for over three decades, mainly as a newspaper reporter and editor in southern Arizona. Tim first came to Alaska with his family in 1967, and grew up in Delta Junction before emigrating to the Lower 48 in 1977 to get a college education and see the world.