by Phillip Manning ~ February 27th, 2014
On Tuesday afternoon, four snowmachiners were rescued by the Alaska Air National Guard in the Talkeetna Mountains. Jason Coffey, Tara Coffey, Robert Milligan, and Jonathan Hines, all of Wasilla, were approximately ten miles east of the Yoder Road trail head, when one of the snowmachines got stuck. According to reports from the Guard and Alaska State Troopers, Jason Hines separated from the group in order to get help. The remaining three snowmachiners called the Alaska State Troopers just before 4:00 pm to report that they were stranded and did not have overnight gear. In addition, the Air National Guard reports that one of the riders did not have necessary medication.
The call was forwarded to the Rescue Coordination Center, and an HC-130 King and an an HH-60 Pavehawk were dispatched. The rescue teams located the snowmachiners who were “cold, wet, and tired” according to a press release from the Air National Guard. Due to the terrain, the group had to be hoisted onto the Pavehawk. Meanwhile, Jason Hines reached the trail head on his own, and met with Alaska State Troopers there. No injuries were reported.
Lieutenant Colonel John Morse of the Rescue Coordination Center says in a press release that this case illustrates the importance of preparedness. He lists extra food, medications, and a signal device as things the Guard recommends bringing on any backcountry trip.