A Coast Guard rescue team from Air Station Sitka medevaced a man with a broken leg last week.
Coast Guard watchstanders received a call from Alaska State Troopers around 9:30 a.m. on March 12 asking them to assist with a rescue operation in Cannery Cove, on the southeast side of Admiralty Island. The patient was a 69-year-old man who fell while hiking near his home.
Lt. Jonathan Orthman is a Jayhawk pilot for Air Station Sitka. He says good weather made the 42 mile trip take around 25 minutes.
“We got all set to fly out. The weather was actually really good for Sitka area for this time of year,” he said. “So we were able to go right over Baranof Island, straight over, almost direct line to the location that the state troopers had given us.”
Orthman says when they arrived, they couldn’t find a good place to land, so they hovered above the house, which was located on a hilltop in a heavily wooded area. The patient’s spouse had a VHF radio and was able to communicate with the helicopter crew directly. They lowered a rescue swimmer and a crew member with advanced medical training to help prepare the patient for transport.
“It took them quite a while to get the patient kind of comfortable and set up,” he said. “It was kind of a tight area, so it was close to the home. We were doing our best, you know we have a very big helicopter. It makes a lot of wind and we don’t want to damage any property when we come in.”
Orthman says they moved the patient to a nearby picnic table, then hoisted the rescuers and the patient, one at a time. The man was then transported to Sitka for medical care. Orthman says five crew members participated in the rescue.