• 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

  • News

    First Alaskans hope changes to ballot will increase Native voter turnout

    by Dave Leval on Oct 19, 19:18

    Tomorrow, the annual Elders and Youth Conference, put on by the First Alaskans Institute, kicks off. Held at the Dena’ina Convention and Civic Center in Anchorage, this year’s event will feature an extra message. “Get out that Native vote,” said Liz Medicine Crow, who leads First Alaskans Institute. Medicine Crow is also helping to attract […]

  • Weather

    Evening News weather, Oct. 19

    by KTVA Weather on Oct 19, 18:38

    Could tonight be the night we see our first official snowfall in Anchorage? The moisture is available, but the big question lies in whether temperatures will get cold enough. We may see some flurries flying across the Anchorage Bowl but not in the way of significant accumulation. Temperatures will bump up by Monday afternoon, allowing us […]

  • News

    Ketchikan officials to consider prayer at meetings

    by Associated Press on Oct 19, 17:54

    The Ketchikan Gateway Borough Assembly is set to consider whether to begin its meetings with a prayer. A public hearing and vote are scheduled for Monday. The Ketchikan Daily News reports (http://bit.ly/1whLulU) that there was disagreement at an earlier meeting about whether non-religious speakers would be allowed to deliver invocations and how much time would […]

  • News

    Parnell has closed meeting at JBER with Guard members

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Oct 19, 15:49

    Gov. Sean Parnell met with Alaska National Guard members today. Parnell, who is commander-in-chief of the Alaska National Guard, held the meeting to addressing changes that are being implemented within the Guard. This comes after the Guard’s administration has withstood harsh criticism for allegations of sexual assault, fraud and other misconduct. An investigation into the Guard resulted […]

  • News

    Restoration plan taking longer than expected

    by Associated Press on Oct 19, 14:08

    Government attorneys say a restoration plan for addressing lingering effects of the Exxon Valdez oil spill is taking longer than expected to complete. The six-step plan includes testing of possible bioremediation technologies. The attorneys, in a recent court filing, said it will be necessary to apply what was learned from the testing to all known […]

  • News

    Record number registers for White Mountains ultra race

    by Associated Press on Oct 19, 12:54

    A record number of people have signed up for the White Mountains 100-mile ultra race north of Fairbanks. The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports (http://bit.ly/11S3k5v) 155 people signed up for 65 slots in the race, scheduled for March. A lottery determines the roster and wait list. There are three divisions: biking, running and Nordic skiing. Ninety-six […]

  • News

    Fraternal organization covers the doctor’s bill for children in Alaska

    by Sierra Starks on Oct 19, 12:00

    Free, state-of-the-art healthcare can be hard to come by for any family. But a local fraternal organization has made it a mission that Alaskan children get the treatment they need, no matter the cost. This weekend, dozens of children were flown into Anchorage from all over the state. Some of the families came from places […]

  • News

    Thanksgiving Blessing in Mountain View needs contributions now

    by Lauren Maxwell on Oct 19, 10:46

    Those who organize one of Anchorage’s biggest food drives for the holidays are gearing up to feed more needy families than ever. At the Thanksgiving Blessing project on Nov. 24, families can pick out food at six different sites to make their own meals on Thanksgiving Day. Organizers are asking for the public’s help to […]