Guardsmen Work to Recover Victims from Crash Site
By Army Sgt. 1st Class Michael J. Carden
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Aug. 10, 2010 Alaska Air National Guard airmen aided victims during the plane crash in Dillingham, Alaska, that claimed the life of former U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens and others, marking the Guard's second rescue mission since Aug. 8.
The downed plane that claimed the life of Stevens and reportedly four others was spotted 285 miles southwest of Anchorage, Alaska. Flight service officials in Dillingham contacted the Alaska Guard’s 11th Rescue Coordination Center after losing contact with the De Havilland Twin Otter at around 7 p.m., National Guard officials said in a statement today. Four people reportedly survived the crash.
One of the survivors was former NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe, who served as Secretary of the Navy from 1992 to 1993.
Pararescue airmen from the Alaska Air National Guard’s 212th Rescue Squadron arrived on the scene just before noon today. The airmen struggled against rough weather, and had been expected to arrive around midnight last night, Air Force Maj. Guy Hayes said in a written statement.
A Coast Guard C-130 is providing support overhead and will be available to take victims in need of serious medical support to Anchorage once victims are transported to Dillingham, officials said.
Hayes’ statement said five medical responders are on the scene. News reports estimate at least five fatalities.
Members of the squadron are on the ground at a separate crash site about 60 miles northeast of Anchorage on the Knik Glacier, Pentagon spokesman Army Lt. Col. Robert L. Ditchey said. Guardsmen delivered survival supplies to four Texas vacationers and their pilot after harsh weather forced the Piper Cherokee aircraft to make a “controlled landing,” he said.
All five Knik Glacier victims were reported to be in “good condition,” he said.