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Press Release | May 7, 2023

2 teenage hikers rescued by Coast Guard aircrew in Sitka, Alaska

D17 Public Affairs

KODIAK, Alaska -- A Coast Guard Air Station Sitka aircrew rescued two hikers off of Mount Verstovia in Sitka, Alaska, Saturday.

The MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew safely hoisted and transported the siblings, ages 14 and 15 to the air station where they were met by awaiting family members.

At 4:30 p.m., Sector Juneau Command Center personnel received a call from Sitka Mountain Rescue requesting assistance in locating two lost hikers.

“The Sitka Police Department received the initial call via cell phone from one of the hikers, reporting that she and her brother were lost,” said Coast Guard Lt. Jonathan Orthman, pilot, Air Station Sitka. “We arrived on scene about 15 minutes after takeoff and visually spotted the hikers. The rescue swimmer deployed, assessed the condition  of the two hikers and hoisted them off the trail.”

The hikers were located at an elevation of approximately 1,950 feet.

“Being lost in the wilderness can be a terrifying experience, but these hikers were commendable with how they kept their composure, realized they needed help, and called 911,” said John Yank, Coast Guard Air Station Sitka Rescue Swimmer. “Their quick thinking and reaction to call for help ultimately led to the success of this case.”

Both hikers were reportedly in stable condition during the time of the rescue.

Weather conditions in the vicinity of the hoist included 15 mph winds, an air temperature of 43 degrees and about a mile of visibility.

Before venturing outdoors, the Coast Guard wants to remind people to follow these recommended safety guidelines:

  • Carry a form of communication in the event you need assistance.
  • File a travel plan and leave it with somebody you trust. It should include when you are leaving, where you will be, how long you will be gone and when you plan to return.
  • Carry the appropriate gear, including a first aid kit, food, water and extra clothing in the event you need to shelter in place. In an emergency, rescuers may take several hours to reach your location.

Click here for more information about hiking in Alaska.