The Alaska Air National Guard battled bad weather, low visibility and difficult terrain to finally rescue rescued three hikers on Friday after they had spent five days stranded atop a glacier.

The hikers began their ascent on April 3, but bad weather stranded them prevented them from being picked up two days later, according to a news release from the Alaska National Guard. They moved into an ice cave to try to keep warm after high winds damaged their tent.

After the hikers texted a distress call to a friend, the Alaska Air National Guard dispatched aircraft from the 210th and 211th Rescue Squadrons and a team of Guardian Angels from the 212th Rescue Squadron from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, the news release says.

The Guardsmen tried several times on April 8 and 9 to get to the hikers, but bad weather, low cloud ceilings and darkness made it impossible to drop off the Guardian Angels, the news release says.

"They couldn't see the ground most times, flying in instrument conditions, surrounded by 13,000-foot peaks, attempting to drop supplies and reach the climbers who are stuck at 8,500 feet; this was a pretty complicated mission," Lt. Col. John Morse, of the Alaska Rescue Coordination Center, said in the news release.

When the rescuers were able to parachute drop food, fuel and other supplies, the hikers could not reach any of the supplies.

The weather improved on April 10, allowing the Guardian Angel Team to land on the glacier. The pararescue airmen found that the hikers were suffering from minor frostbite and then loaded them onto a helicopter so they could be flown to a hospital.

"The crews did an incredible job battling the weather, thinking of creative ways that we could get supplies to the climbers and persevering throughout the last four days," Morse said in the news release. "Everyone was leaning forward, doing everything they could to ensure the climbers were safely rescued."

In Other News
Load More