Pilot rescued from plane crash near Ptarmigan Pass
A pilot who suffered minor injuries in the crash of his plane near Ptarmigan Pass earlier this week was rescued Thursday by the Alaska Air National Guard.
The pilot was expected back Tuesday and reported overdue by his brother Thursday morning to the Anchorage-based Rescue Coordination Center, according to a statement from the Guard. The brother was able to relay recent coordinates, about 130 miles northwest of Anchorage, from a satellite tracking device carried by the pilot.
Lt. Col. Candis Olmstead, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, said the plane had departed from the Wasilla Airport, but had no details on when the aircraft crashed or how long the pilot had awaited rescue afterward.
The RCC launched an HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter to the area, where its crew were able to find the plane’s wreckage in mountainous terrain at an altitude of about 3,000 feet.
“The mission was conducted in inclement weather, with low ceiling and reduced visibility, rain and fog,” said Lt. Col. Scot Milani, the center’s director. “They conducted the search low and slow.”
The pilot “did not appear to have sustained serious injuries,” according to the statement. The helicopter crew flew him to the Mat-Su Regional Medical Center, where he was transferred to medics’ care at 1:30 p.m. Thursday.
The rescue emphasizes the importance of planning for a trip, Guard officials said.
“It’s important for pilots to have a plan—letting someone know where they are going, their planned route, when they plan to depart and return—and be packed with food, gear and shelter,” Milani said. “They should be equipped to spend an extended period of time surviving until rescue forces are able to locate them in the event of an emergency.”