An Air Station Kodiak helicopter crew rescued three men from a hunting trip gone bad on Sunday morning, but for one of those men, things went from bad to … well, maybe not worse, but he was arrested by the Alaska State Troopers after returning to Kodiak.
At about 8:30 Sunday morning the troopers received a report that three hunters at Windy Lake had lost their tent during the storm overnight and were becoming hypothermic. Both the troopers and Sea Hawk Air contacted the Coast Guard, which launched an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter to retrieve the men.
According to the Coast Guard in Kodiak, the Jayhawk was able to land near where the men were and they were flown to safety. After returning to Kodiak, they were examined by emergency medical personnel, and then one of them was arrested for an outstanding reckless driving and failure to appear warrant from Soldotna.
35-year-old Zebadiah Carpenter of Kenai was arrested by troopers and lodged at the Kodiak Jail without bail pending his arraignment.
Despite any past lapses in judgment, Coast Guard Lieutenant Commander Doug Watson said the men did everything right by planning ahead, maintaining contact with their charter airline and rescuers, and most importantly not over-estimating their ability to endure the elements.
Conditions at Windy Lake lived up to its name, with nearly 50 mph winds, intermittent showers and a temperature of 45-degrees. Continue reading
An Air Station Kodiak helicopter crew was dispatched Saturday morning to medevac an injured crewman from a Horizon Lines cargo ship in the Gulf of Alaska. According to the Coast Guard, the 39-year-old man – who they did not identify – suffered from a chemical exposure and needed urgent medical attention.
The cargo vessel “Horizon Kodiak” was about 200 miles from its namesake island when the call for help was made. By the time the MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter arrived, the Horizon Kodiak had changed course and they rendezvoused about 160 miles offshore.
The Coast Guard also deployed an HC-130 Hercules aircraft as a precaution for the long-distance medevac. The helicopter crew transferred the injured man to Kodiak where emergency medical personal were waiting. His condition was not reported, but in video from the helicopter, the man was on his feet when meeting the hoist basket on the stern of the Horizon Kodiak.
Weather on scene was reported as 23 mph winds and six-foot seas.
Athletic enthusiasts will be disappointed to know the annual “race against the rock” has been cancelled this year. For 12 years the Eco Challenge pinned teams of four against Kodiak’s terrain in a day-long race that often included biking, hiking, running, rafting and navigating.
Petty Officer Diana Honings handles public affairs for the Kodiak Coast Guard, which puts on race.
“It was cancelled due to lack of personnel in the MWR. There’s not enough staff to maintain the safety during the event.”
The MWR is the Morale, Welfare and Recreation Division of the Coast Guard. Honings said its currently without an athletic director and they didn’t have the funds to hire interns this year.
This is the first year since the race’s creation that it has been cancelled, but Honings said there is hope that it might return in the future.
“But right now we just don’t have enough staff to maintain the safety of the people who participate in the event.”
The race was typically held in August each year and often drew more than a 100 participants competing on more than a dozen teams.
The Coast Guard sent three aircraft on a long-range rescue for a mariner aboard a container ship near Unalaska yesterday (Monday).
The 751-foot bulk carrier TW Manila first called for help late Sunday night. They reported a 28-year-old crewmember was suffering from appendicitis-like symptoms on board.
The ship was 450 miles south of Unalaska at the time. That’s too far out to sea for a helicopter to safely conduct a hoist, says Coast Guard public affairs officer Jonathan Klingenberg.
“They have to get within 125 nautical miles in order so the helicopters can get out there with the fuel that they have, pick up the individual and get him back safely. Any further than that, they risk fuel consumption.”
He says the Coast Guard told the Manila to steer closer to Unalaska. Then, the Coast Guard deployed a Jayhawk helicopter and Hercules airplane from Air Station Kodiak. They also called in a Dolphin helicopter from the Seattle-based Coast Guard Cutter Midgett, which was on patrol nearby.
Klingenberg says the extra aircraft provide back-up for the medevac and support for each other during a rescue so far from land.
“These long-range medevacs illustrate our crews’ abilities to coordinate a highly complicated medevac such as this. It takes a lot of planning with not only our cutters but also our air crews and the vessel that the patient needs to be rescued from in order to get them within range for us to get out there and safely get him back to the medical care that he needs.”
The aircraft met the Manila 125 miles south of Unalaska early yesterday (MONDAY) morning. Klingenberg says there were 15- to 20-foot seas and winds up to 40 mph at the time.
The Jayhawk crew hoisted the mariner off the ship and took him back to Unalaska. He was transferred to a Guardian med-flight for further care.
The U.S. Coast Guard yesterday released its report on Royal Dutch Shell’s arctic drilling efforts in 2012, which led to the grounding of the mobile drilling rig Kulluk on New Year’s Eve.
The 152-page report was released 10-months after a hearing in Anchorage in the aftermath of the grounding. The investigation was done by Commander Joshua McTaggart of the Coast Guard’s national investigations center.
The report states that in an effort to avoid state property taxes, Shell did indeed set sail from Dutch Harbor in late December so to be out of Alaska waters on January 1st, when the taxes would have been levied. The report also criticizes Shell for “numerous deficiencies” in planning the voyage, having an inadequate towing plan, and the “questionable decision” to sail from Dutch Harbor to Seattle in December in the face of worsening weather.
The critical report did not erode arctic drilling support among Alaska’s U.S. senators Mark Begich and Lisa Murkowski.
In a written statement Begich said he remains a “strong supporter” of reasonable arctic resource development. He said the Coast Guard report and recommendations gives him greater confidence about resource extraction in the arctic.
Murkowski agreed that the recommendations from the Coast Guard will improve the safety of maritime activities during energy resource development in the arctic.
Environmental watchdogs were not as upbeat. Continue reading
Because of federal budget concerns, two military amenities in Alaska that are also widely enjoyed by civilians are facing an uncertain future. Both are golf courses – the one at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage, and Bear Valley here in Kodiak.
The courses will open this summer, but unless something changes, it will be their last season of operation. But members of the Kodiak Golfers Association are hoping that they can effect some change before the gates are locked for good. Al Shaw is the association’s president:
“They generate most of their funds now under the congress passed years ago that (they) have to operate under profits that they generate. They don’t get a whole lot of money any more. It used to be deep pockets from the government – used to be just ‘here, let the troops have some fun,’” Shaw said. “It does cost a lot of money to operate both golf courses. The governments really aren’t set up to run the golf courses as a business, so it does tend to lose funds.”
Shaw, who is a retired Army soldier and Coast Guard civilian employee, has been using the course since it was built in the 1980s.
“I think it’s a very, very important function out there that does share with the Kodiak community and the Coast Guard. It keeps us close ties and everything else. But you know we’ve got a slate of options how we can run it,” he said. “I haven’t had a meeting yet with MWR people yet how we can keep the golf course open, and our Representative Alan Austerman suggested we set it as a concession to the Coast Guard, where we set up a board and the community will run the operation for the Coast Guard.”
Steve O’Brien is an avid golfer and was the first course marshal at Bear Valley when he was the athletic director for the Coast Guard back in the 80s. He says the loss of the course would be widely felt through the community. Continue reading