A crew with the Alaska Army National Guard out of Anchorage was in Bethel on May 6th, 2020 to do some exercises involving rescue hoisting with the Black Hawk helicopter. The Black Hawk crew was focused on their training last Wednesday and could be seen at the old BIA site with a sling attached to the helicopter and then lifting crew into the aircraft.
“They did some training there utilizing their hoist and their hoist team,” said Captain Andrew Adams, the commander to the Army Aviation Operating Facility in Bethel. “They were out here just to be better prepared in case we had some kind of emergency.”
The crew was training as part of floodwatch for the Kuskokwim River.
During the early morning hours of May 1st, 2020, an elderly couple were rescued via helicopter from their home near Napaimute due to severe flooding in the area. The Alaska Air National Guard’s 176th Wing Airmen with the Alaska Air National Guard’s 210th, 211th and 212th rescue squadrons saved the two elders who were stranded in a small boat in the flooded and icy waters of the Kuskokwim River.
The HC-130J Hercules and HH-60G Pave Hawk were launched from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson for the rescue mission.
The rescue crews performed a hoist recovery from approximately 140 feet overhead to prevent the helicopter’s rotor wash from upsetting the boat. Once aboard, the individuals were safely transported to Aniak and released to the Alaska State Troopers. The crews then returned to Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, after approximately five hours in flight.
The training at the BIA site was a success, said Captain Adams.