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Coast Guard chopper rescues woman injured 50 miles inland from Point Hope

Alaska Dispatch

As if there wasn’t enough to do patrolling the Arctic Ocean and Bering Sea, the U.S. Coast Guard is conducting inland rescues, too.

On Friday, a 37-year-old woman, injured operating an all-terrain vehicle about 50 miles inland from Point Hope, was medevaced by an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew based on the Coast Guard cutter Midgett patroling the Chukchi Sea. 

Late Friday afternoon, the North Slope Borough Search and Rescue appealed to the Coast Guard for help.  The helicopter arrived on the scene less than an hour after it was launched at 5 p.m. After loading the woman into the aircraft, she was flown to Point Hope Hospital for treatment.

Petty Officer 3rd Class Jonathan Klingenberg said such a request for assistance on a ground search wasn’t unusual. “No, not at all,”  Klingenberg said. “If we’re up there, we try to help. We do get contacted by Alaska State Troopers for their ground searches occasionally.  North Slope SAR knew we were in the area.”

The Midgett is a 378-foot cutter based in Seattle Wash. Midgett patrols the Gulf of Alaska, the Bering Sea and the Eastern Pacific off the coast of South America. In July, Capt. Laura Dickey took over command of the vessel.

“This case highlights the value of having a flight-deck-equipped cutter in the Bering Sea,” said Lt. Evan Steckle, with the Coast Guard’s District 17.  “Multi-mission capable assets like the Coast Guard Cutter Midgett allow the Coast Guard to respond to a variety of scenarios off the North Slope of Alaska.”

The MH-65 Dolphin helicopter that is deployed aboard the Midgett is from Air Station Kodiak.