German hiker rescued after 250-foot fall above Valdez-area glacier

A severely injured German man was flown to Anchorage by the U.S. Coast Guard for treatment Saturday, after falling hundreds of feet from a trail at the Worthington Glacier near Valdez.

City of Valdez spokeswoman Allie Ferko said in a Monday statement that a request to help the 42-year-old man reached dispatchers just after 11:30 a.m. Saturday. His name has not been released, pending notification of his next of kin in Germany.

A backcountry search-and-rescue team from the Valdez Fire Department responded to the area, near Thompson Pass roughly 25 miles from town along the Richardson Highway.

"Upon arrival at the scene, responders were advised the man had been hiking the left ridge trail above the glacier when he slid and fell approximately 250 to 300 feet," city officials wrote. "The man appeared to have been hiking alone and had multiple injuries, including skull and leg fractures."

The man was initially stabilized by two doctors in a hiking party that was in the area when the man fell.

"During episodes of consciousness, (the man) stated the fall happened around 8:30 a.m. that morning," Ferko wrote. "A group of hikers heard him scream and notified the fire department."

Nearly 20 people, including members of the fire department and volunteers, helped carry the injured man in a litter roughly a mile and a half to a parking lot near the glacier.

Coast Guard spokesman Petty Officer 2nd Class Jon Paul Rios said an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew arrived soon afterward to transport the patient. The Coast Guard was asked to make the medevac flight by the 11th Air Force's Rescue Coordination Center in Anchorage.

"He was in pretty bad shape," Rios said. "Seeing his condition, our main concern was getting a crew out there as fast as possible to assist."

The Jayhawk crew took about an hour to fly the injured man to Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage.