Two of the four crew members on a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter were critically injured after it crashed during a search and rescue mission in southeast Alaska.
According to Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Michael Salerno, after crashing on Read Island late on Monday, some 80 miles east of Sitka, all four crew members were flown to Seattle for medical attention. The Coast Guard categorized two of the crew members’ injuries as critical.
He stated that the fishing boat requesting the helicopter’s assistance reported the accident to rescuers. Salerno did not provide any other information that may shed light on the crash’s potential causes.
The helicopter carrying the Air Station Sitka crew crashed on Read Island when they were on a rescue mission to a fishing boat taking on water in Farragut Bay, roughly 20 miles northwest of Petersburg.
According to a press release published on social media by the Coast Guard, additional rescue workers from state and local agencies and another Coast Guard aircraft arrived at the location early on Tuesday to assist with medical care for the most badly injured crew members.
After receiving word of the incident at 11:05 p.m., the Coast Guard’s first crews arrived around 12:50 a.m.
After being hospitalized since Monday night following a helicopter accident in Southeast Alaska, two U.S. Coast Guard crewmen were released from the hospital on Wednesday.
The two other crew members who were severely injured are still hospitalized in Washington state, although their health has improved, said a Coast Guard news statement.
Weather conditions at the time of the accident included poor visibility due to rain and snow storms and up to 45 mph gusts; however, the Coast Guard has not disclosed the crew members’ identities or any information on what may have caused the disaster. The cause of the crash is still being investigated.
A department news statement states, “There are no signs enemy/hostile operations caused the accident.”