High winds leave remote hikers, hunters stranded
Two people were stranded on a glacier, and three hunters were weathered-in and their survival gear blown away by the hurricane-force winds that left behind damage all across Southcentral.
Tuesday morning around 7:30, Alaska State Troopers received an SOS from a Garmin InReach Device requesting emergency assistance for a group of hunters who were weathered-in in the Alaska Range, southeast of Nikolai.
Troopers say 60-year-old Roxanne Cadotte-Speckman and 61-year-old Calvin Speckman, both of Pleasant Hill, Oregon, along with their bear hunting guide, 45-year-old Jason Vogel, of Talkeetna, were caught in extreme weather and had been sheltering in place for three days.
The winds, troopers said, were in excess of 70 mph and destroyed their camp and survival gear, leaving the group without shelter and the ability or make a fire.
Troopers kept in constant contact with the trio throughout the day while weather conditions continued to deteriorate and the group's plight became more desperate. Meanwhile, weather conditions in Anchorage worsened throughout the day, preventing any assets from launching a rescue attempt.
The Rescue Coordination Center in Anchorage attempted an airborne rescue but were forced back to Anchorage due to extreme conditions. Another attempt was made from the Fairbanks area, and around 11 p.m., troopers were notified that Roxanne had been picked up by another guide in a PA-18 Super Cub aircraft. Shortly thereafter, RCC was able to successfully rescue Calvin and Vogel.
Roxanne, Calvin and Vogel were each taken to Fairbanks via Blackhawk. Each was dropped off in good condition, troopers say.
Meanwhile, around noon Tuesday, troopers learned of a pair of hikers who were stranded on the Powell Glacier north of Chickaloon. Troopers say 32-year-old Katherine Wyatt and 33-year-old Andrew Wyatt, of Washington State, had their camping supplies blown away and were in need of assistance in getting off the glacier.
The Wyatts were stranded until 3 a.m. Wednesday, when the RCC was able to reach their location and transport them to Providence Hospital in Anchorage for treatment.
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