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VIDEO: Sr. Capt. Jeff Bayless honored for wilderness rescue

2013 Red Cross of Alaska Wilderness Rescue Heroes

Craig Medred

On Sept. 16, 2012, rescue personnel from Anchorage Fire Department's Station 11, located in Eagle River, were dispatched to respond to a report of a kayaker stuck in a log jam on Eagle River. Sr. Capt. 

"We found ourselves engaged in one of the most challenging successful rescues of an individual that we have been involved in in the river setting," Sr. Capt. Jeff Bayless says in the video. Bayless responded with a crew that included engineer Robert Van Dussen and firefighter/paramedic Craig Paulus.

In this video, produced by the Red Cross of Alaska, Bayless, Van Dussen and Paulus describe their company's rescue, which earned them recognition as 2013 Red Cross of Alaska Wilderness Rescue Heroes.

When it became clear the rescue would require the use of a chainsaw, Paulus "did what I regard as the truly heroic act of the day," Bayless says. "He got out of the boat, stood on the kayak, hung on to the tree, and held our customer close while we took the boat across the river to get the chainsaw."

"It was one of those days where we demonstrated what we practice for," Bayless says in the video.

Bayless, 51, died during a training exercise in Anchorage on March 7, 2014.