• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
2m 19s

Residents say dangerous medevac shows King Cove’s need for a road

By Heather Hintze 6:43 PM February 18, 2014

The small community continues to fight for a "life-saving road" to an all-weather airport in Cold Bay.

ANCHORAGE - A King Cove woman remains in critical condition after being medevaced out of the small Aleutian town on Friday.

Residents said the situation highlights their need for a life-saving road to Cold Bay, one Interior Secretary Sally Jewell denied in December.

King Cove Mayor Henry Mack was in Anchorage on Tuesday to visit his sister-in-law Irene Newman, the woman the U.S. Coast Guard rushed to a hospital on Friday.

Video of the rescue shows just how bad the weather was. With his smartphone, Vincent Perino captured the Coast Guard’s decent into King Cove. The helicopter is only visible for a few seconds before it disappears in the heavy snow and high winds.

The Coast Guard is the last resort for the community. On Friday, Mack said, the weather was so bad even the Coast Guard almost didn’t make it.

He’s said he’s frustrated with Jewell’s decision to protect birds in the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge instead of letting the community build a life-saving road.

Doctors were still performing tests to see if his sister-in-law might have been in heart failure by the time she got to Anchorage, he said.

“Every hour on the ground and not being at a hospital, it doesn’t do your heart any good,” Mack said. “We’re hoping it’s not serious heart problems. We could have been at the airport to life flight a lot earlier if we have a road over to Cold Bay.”

Jewell visited King Cove last year and heard residents’ stories of medical emergencies. One elder was medevaced out in a crab pot; a pregnant woman miscarried her baby before she was able to make it to an Anchorage hospital.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski accompanied Jewell on that trip. She said she continues to fight for King Cove residents after Jewell denied the road.

Murkowski has sent three letters to Jewell since the December decision. In her most recent letter she said, “The stress felt by the residents of King Cove, for the safety of their families, is unforgiveable. While plenty of our smallest communities face transportation challenges, none are as close to an all-weather runway and access to hospital care as King Cove. To be left in harms way, not because of geography, but because of the callous decision of Washington bureaucrats is unacceptable.”

Mack said he still can’t believe Jewell met with the community face-to-face and still said no to a road.

“We spent hours, many meetings with the Wildlife Service, Sally Jewell,” Mack said. “They heard our stories, but apparently they never listened because of a decision that they made over a few birds over human life. So it’s very disheartening.”

KTVA called Jewell’s office Tuesday afternoon but was unable to reach her for a comment.

Latest Stories

  • Weather

    Evening News weather, April 27

    by KTVA Weather on Apr 27, 23:53

  • Sports

    East High softball wins 2 more, improves winning streak to 65

    by KTVA Sports on Apr 27, 23:53

    It was a two-game roundup for the East Anchorage High School softball team Monday night as the T-Birds made quick work of both Eagle River (15-0) and West (12-3). Coming into the day, Eagle River was looking for its first win of the season, but it would have had to come at the hands of […]

  • Politics

    Walker calls special session, says it’s critical Legislature pass fully funded budget

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Apr 27, 20:54

      Gov. Bill Walker has called a special session after both the Alaska House and Senate adjourned Monday without passing a fully funded operating budget. The budget was passed by both bodies earlier in the day, but not enough votes were received to use the State’s Constitutional Budget Reserve to balance the budget. As it […]

  • News

    JBER soldier returns from deployment, surprises daughter at school

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Apr 27, 19:45

    Scenic Park Elementary School got a special visitor today. The surprise visit was extra special for one student — as it was her father who showed up to her second-grade class, home from deployment at last.

  • Politics

    Operating budget passes without full funding

    by Kate McPherson on Apr 27, 17:29

    The House of Representatives passed the state’s 2016 operating budget Monday afternoon. But there’s one big problem: There’s no money to fund it. “In failing to send the governor a budget that is funded, we have failed in our obligated duties,” said Rep. Dan Ortiz, of Ketchikan. Passed with a vote of 26 to 12, […]

  • Crime

    2 Gambell men charged in theft of 80 pizzas

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Apr 27, 17:10

    Two men have been arrested after stealing several dozen pizzas and trying to resell them to police, authorities say. At 10 a.m. Sunday, Nome troopers were notified of the theft of 80 frozen pizzas from the Gambell Native Store warehouse during a burglary sometime earlier that morning, according to an online dispatch from Alaska State […]

  • News

    Tanana man killed in ATV crash

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Apr 27, 16:12

    A 46-year-old Tanana man died after the ATV he was riding veered off the road and struck a tree Sunday night, authorities say. At about 9 p.m. Sunday, the Tanana Village Public Safety Officer was contacted about an ATV crash on Mission Hill Road, roughly two miles from the Yukon River village, according to an […]

  • Politics

    Legislature passes bill allowing international child support enforcement

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Apr 27, 15:39

    The Alaska Legislature has passed a bill that would amend state child support laws to match provisions provided under a 2007 international treaty the U.S. signed and enacted, ensuring the continued receipt of $64 million for Alaska’s child support and aid programs. Gov. Bill Walker introduced HB 106 to the House in February. The bill would add child support […]