• 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

    Downtown street party, multiple shootings overnight keep Anchorage police busy

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Nov 23, 12:00

    Anchorage police responded to multiple incidents early Sunday morning, including an unruly street party and two isolated shootings. Downtown street party The first occurred at around 2:30 a.m., according to a release from the Anchorage Police Department. Police responded to a call that shots had been fired in the downtown area. Officers discovered a crowd […]

  • News

    UAF computer science students seek software proposals

    by Associated Press on Nov 23, 10:45

    Computer science students at the University of Alaska Fairbanks are looking for software design proposals as part of their learning process. UAF officials say the projects allow public service and private organizations, as well as governments, to get free software while students get experience. Officials say more than 65 successful projects have been developed by […]

  • News

    Diversity a theme at Walker transition conference in Anchorage

    by Shannon Ballard on Nov 22, 18:42

    It would be easy to have a closed-door discussion about the critical issues that face Alaska, but Gov.-elect Bill Walker says the conversation should belong to all Alaskans. “We get the best input the more people we have involved in the process,” said Walker. There is some risk associated with doing that. The bigger risk […]

  • Weather

    Evening News weather, Nov. 22

    by KTVA Weather on Nov 22, 18:20

    Clouds have invaded our space for the weekend with little moisture here in the Anchorage area. Daytime highs remain in the mid 30s with light winds as we head into Saturday night. Sunday brings more of the same conditions with increasing clouds across the Bowl. We’ll remain under this dry spell going into Thanksgiving. Sunshine […]

  • Sports

    UAA volleyball signs 2 Dimond players

    by KTVA Sports on Nov 22, 18:02

    A pair of Dimond Lynx are heading to the level of volleyball, but the trip is a short one.

  • News

    Government Hill gives back, continues holiday tradition for one resident

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Nov 22, 17:02

      Putting up Christmas lights and decorations is a holiday tradition for Government Hill resident Jeff Fowler. “It started when we lived on the south end of town,” said Fowler. “One at a time, started buying them and when we moved here, new and more stuff just started showing up.“ Over the years, the grand […]

  • News

    Obama highlights Sitka School District’s efforts in technology

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Nov 22, 13:00

    This week, the Sitka School District got a shout-out from President Barack Obama. Superintendent of Sitka Schools Mary Wegner was in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, joining more than 100 superintendents from across the country gathered together at the White House for the ConnectED to the Future conference. The day-long event recognized some of the nation’s […]

  • News

    Fairbanks prisoner accused of soliciting murder

    by Associated Press on Nov 22, 12:01

    An imprisoned former chiropractor and gun dealer from Fairbanks has been accused of attempting to solicit the murder of federal officers while behind bars. The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner (http://goo.gl/VVMn92 ) reports Guy Christopher Mannino, 56, has been in prison since Oct. 2013 awaiting sentencing for federal weapons charges. The office of the U.S. Attorney says […]