Alaska-based aviators evacuate man on Mount McKinley
July 15, 2010
FORT WAINWRIGHT, Alaska -- Soldiers from Fort Wainwright's B Company, 1st Battalion, 52nd Aviation Regiment, 16th Combat Aviation Brigade, evacuated a Pennsylvania man from Mount McKinley July 7, after reports that he was acting mentally unstable.
Although Denali National Park has the use of a helicopter during the climbing season, the Army was asked to assist because the man was considered a potential threat to a pilot in the park's small high-altitude helicopter. The 25-year-old climber was strapped to a backboard for transport in an Army Chinook CH-47 helicopter.
The Soldiers of the B Company's High Altitude Rescue Team have made several rescues from North America's highest mountain over the years, including one at 19,600 feet and a rescue hoist at 18,200. The National Park Service calls on the Army when its helicopter is out of service, there are more patients than their small aircraft can carry at one time or for other reasons the park service helicopter cannot do the mission.
The unit has also assisted park rangers by transporting supplies for the base camps at the beginning and end of the climbing season, giving the pilots and crews some necessary training for the missions when they are called to the mountain.
Upon arrival at Fort Wainwright the man was transported by the Alaska State Troopers to Fairbanks Memorial Hospital.
(Some of the information for this report was gathered from an article printed in the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Friday, July 9 2010.)