Coast Guard lifts hikers off Haines mountain

A Haines woman and her father are safe after spending an unplanned night on Mount Ripinsky.

Alaska State Troopers say 44-year-old Kelly Williamson at 8:30 p.m. Monday called a family member and said she and her 67-year-old father, Florida resident John Hamilton, had become lost while descending the 3,563-foot mountain.

The weather was favorable with clear skies and temperatures in the 60s and they did not request a rescue.

Williamson, however, called again at 5 a.m. Tuesday and said her father was too weak to hike.

Trooper spokeswoman Beth Ipsen tells the Anchorage Daily News that the hikers had not carried food for an overnight stay and were worn out.

A pilot spotted the pair and guided rescuers to their location.

A Coast Guard helicopter picked up the hikers.

Original story by KTOO on August 14, 2013 at 12:33 pm

A father and daughter hiking a trail near Haines were rescued by the Coast Guard after the pair became lost on Monday.

The pair were identified as 67-year old John Hamilton of Florida and 44-year old Kelly Williamson of Haines. They embarked on a day hike up the Mount Ripinsky trailhead on Monday morning. They summited the mountain, but they lost the trail on the way down through an area known as ‘Seven Mile Saddle’.

Alaska State Troopers said Williamson called out on Monday evening to say that they had gotten lost in the darkness, but they did not need a search team to find them then. They were going to find the trail at first light.

However, Williamson called early Tuesday morning to say that Hamilton was very weak and might not be able to continue out.

Haines Search and Rescue was sent to the summit of Mount Ripinsky Tuesday morning, but they could not find the pair.

A fixed wing aircraft flying in the area later found the hikers and directed the search team to their location. Troopers say both Hamilton and Williamson could not hike out because of exposure and lack of food and water.

A Coast Guard H-60 helicopter picked up the two and transported them back to Haines Tuesday afternoon.

No injuries were reported.



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