Moose hunters rescued after plane flips in Western Alaska

  • Author: Zaz Hollander
  • Updated: September 5, 2018
  • Published September 5, 2018

A National Guard helicopter crew on Monday night rescued two men and a pilot on a moose-hunting trip near St. Mary's after their plane flipped, authorities said.

The men were not injured in the crash of the Piper PA-22, according to the National Transportation Safety Board, which is investigating.

A commercial air taxi service contacted the Alaska Rescue Coordination Center after the pilot activated his SPOT personal satellite beacon and reported the crash, according to a statement from the Alaska National Guard. A UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter and aircrew from the 1-207th departed the Guard's Army Aviation Operating Facility in Bethel around 9 p.m.

It wasn't immediately clear why an air taxi service was involved. The plane was not on a chartered flight when the crash occurred, NTSB Alaska region chief Clint Johnson said.

The Black Hawk pilot said they were told the passengers killed a moose, flew back to their vehicles to drop off gear, and were headed back to the carcass when the crash occurred on a hillside near a ridge, according to the Guard statement.

The trio didn't have their gear, had no source for a fire, and were huddled together as night came on, the Guard said. The pilot of the Black Hawk talked with the pilot, who agreed the group would flash headlamps when they heard and saw the helicopter.

The Alaska State Troopers met the men back in Bethel at the Army Aviation Operating Facility, the Guard said.