Reliability, Performance, Compliance


Flares help Alaska medics find hiker with chest pains


Flares helped a medical crew locate a hiker with chest pains in Alaska and airlift the teenager to medical personnel.

A Coast Guard Air Station Sitka MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter aircrew found the 16-year-old on Baranof Island,  approximately 30 miles north of Sitka, one evening in December with the aid of flares.

Pilot Lt. Kyle Johnson explains, “The aircrew was dispatched to a survival camp in Peril Strait. We were able to land on a rocky area between the shoreline and treeline. Members of the camp were able to pass their exact coordinates to Sector Juneau, light a signal flare and communicate with the helicopter directly with a portable VHF radio.

“As a result, this eliminated any searching and made entry into the unprepared landing zone very quick and uneventful. The patient was transferred to Sitka EMS for further care.”

The aircrew safely hoisted and transferred the teenager from a narrow tidal flat to awaiting emergency medical services personnel in Sitka for further care.

The team had earlier been contacted by the Sitka Wilderness Therapy team leader to say a student was experiencing chest pains while on a hike.

The image is a file picture of Coast Guard Air Station Sitka MH-60 Jayhawk and is credited to U.S. Coast Guard and Wikimedia and Gillfoto.

Jan 03, 2020