Army Guard Chopper Crashes in Glacier...12 total now stranded

txpj007

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Guard chopper crashes in glacier rescue try

A dozen people now stranded near top of Knik

By JAMES HALPIN
jhalpin@adn.com

Published: August 10th, 2010 06:52 PM
Last Modified: August 10th, 2010 06:53 PM

An Army National Guard Black Hawk helicopter crashed some 8,500 feet up Knik Glacier on Tuesday afternoon as its crew attempted to rescue five people stranded since their airplane crashed Sunday afternoon, according to the National Guard.

The mishap now leaves a dozen people stranded near the top of Knik Glacier, south of Mount Marcus Baker, in what started in an attempt to rescue five marooned souls.

"Oh my God," said the stranded pilot's mother, Beverly Erbey, on hearing of the second wreck. "Up until right now, we've been pretty upbeat. You just kind of took the wind out of our sails."

The UH-60 Black Hawk "slid and rolled over" on the glacier as its crew was trying to pick up the five crash survivors and four pararescuemen who skied in to the site Monday with supplies, said Guard spokesman Maj. Guy Hayes.

"They landed in an attempt to extract those civilians and our pararescuemen up there," Hayes said. "I'm being told that it's in pretty bad shape," he said of the helicopter.

There were three crewmen on the helicopter and all were reported to be uninjured, Hayes said. An HH-60 Pave Hawk and an HC-130 Hercules have been dispatched to the scene to assist in recovery efforts, he said.

The pilot of the crashed PA-32, 49-year-old Donald Erbey, had taken four friends from Texas up to the glacier on Sunday afternoon when the group encountered severe weather and he tried to turn back, his family reported. The airplane hit a downdraft and crashed into a snowbank 8,500 feet up the glacier, leaving the airplane mostly intact, according to the family.

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The survivors, who were out for a short flightseeing tour, were not properly equipped for an extended glacier-top stay. Four pararescuemen from the Alaska Air National Guard began skiing four miles up the glacier Sunday night and arrived about 21 hours later with food, water, clothing and shelter to last up to three days.

They reported that only two of the people were suffering minor injuries, Hayes said. The pararescuemen intended to remain with passengers until they could be rescued, he said.

Severe weather earlier Tuesday stymied several attempts to retrieve the people by an Alaska State Troopers helicopter, which met whiteout conditions that have kept rescue flights at bay since Sunday, troopers spokeswoman Beth Ipsen said.

On Monday, the Guard had been circling an HC-130 and an HH-60 helicopter overhead awaiting a break in the weather that would allow a rescue attempt. That equipment was redeployed to the Dillingham area Monday night after an airplane crashed there killing five, including former U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens, Hayes said.

Beverly Erbey said the Guard told her earlier Tuesday that two Black Hawk helicopters were headed down from Fairbanks to attempt a rescue atop the glacier.

Read more: http://www.adn.com/2010/08/10/1404134/weather-keeps-plane-crash-survivors.html#ixzz0wGhsYOrb

http://www.adn.com/2010/08/10/1404134/weather-keeps-plane-crash-survivors.html

***update from buddies facebook**

4 PJs and 5 airplane crash survivors are trying to ride out the storm on the glacier. An Army Helo tried getting through the weather to recover everyone, it ended up crashing also. Luckily only 600 meters from their campsite, so the PJs went down and rescued the helo crew (so far no fatalities or injuries reported). So... now there are 12 people on the glacier in horrible weather, and we have an Air Force Helo with a resupply bundle of food and other supplies trying to get in as close as they can to drop the much needed resupply. See news article below.
... I'm on stand-by waiting for a break in the weather so we can help.
 

txpj007

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Thanks for the well wishes guys...and lady. However, I just wanted to clarify that I myself am not on this rescue. That last update was from my buddy who is on the mission. He's been keeping updates on his facebook. But I've already passed the message on to him...if he hasnt already launched. I can only sit here in jealousy lol.

The Alaska PJ's are legends up there, I've spent time training snow and ice with them and I have no doubt that all involved are safe in their hands. This time of year is always busy for them...this mission however has gotten particularly crazy.

TX
 

JustAnotherJ

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I'll bump was TX said. Those Alaska J's are the premier team at this kind of tragedy. If anyone can get them all home alive, it's our boys way up north. God bless gents.
 

Centermass

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Alaska has not been kind with regards to A/C this year......damn.

I've spent time on many glaciers up there including doing an OH-58 recovery up on Gulkana. Glad this time of year, weather and sunlight wise, is on their side, as compared to winter conditions later on in the year.

May they all get home safe.
 

Ranger Psych

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The army helo didn't *crash* per se, it had landed and there was a terrain shift causing a rollover.

Just bad juju and fucking stupidity by the civvies tbh... you always fucking pack survival kit in birds up here, period. I don't give a shit if I'm going out for an hour, if i'm riding fixed or rotary wing up here I'm packing for a week stay.
 

txpj007

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Ranger Psych---- absolutely valid point...shit some might say i overpack when i go camping here in texas. but neither myself or wife and kids have ever gone hungry or thirsty...
 

txpj007

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---UPDATE-----

All survivors, army crew and PJ's back safely as of an hour ago. 21 hours of climbing to reach the site + RON with all survivors....AWESOME JOB!
 

DA SWO

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The army helo didn't *crash* per se, it had landed and there was a terrain shift causing a rollover.

Just bad juju and fucking stupidity by the civvies tbh... you always fucking pack survival kit in birds up here, period. I don't give a shit if I'm going out for an hour, if i'm riding fixed or rotary wing up here I'm packing for a week stay.

Agree.

TXPJ, You guys take a few minutes to talk to the wanna-bees when something like this happens?
 

txpj007

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Agree.

TXPJ, You guys take a few minutes to talk to the wanna-bees when something like this happens?

if by wannabees you mean the indoc students then yeah sometimes. the course is so busy with overlapping classes and daily trng events most days. but yeah we'll mention things that we can when they occur. its always good to relate why they are going through the suck to a real world example.
 

Ranger Psych

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Well, I have to refute my other statement.. a board I am on for alaskans had this come out:

Everyone is off the snowfield as of this afternoon. I am home now.

Im sure I can't say too much but; I was the crew chief aboard the Blackhawk. We were not intending to land at the time. We impacted the surface and immediatelly flipped over. I was hanging out the right crew chief window; which is the same side we rolled over on as we came to rest upside down. It happened very fast.

I'm a little banged up but everyone is okay now. I have to shower now and rest now.


I think that it would be an interesting mindfuck for unit lineage and history to be taught at the outset of selection processes, for any unit deserving of a selection process.

Then , after an evolution of training... do the "real world event" brief, after an event, since those that completed it would be worth telling the story to, rather than those that quit or fell to the wayside... Bring a reality check into the training...

This whole rescue would be perfect for oh, say, rotary wing training followed by an unexpected roadmarch of unknown distance... guess what, what got you in might not be able to get you home ;)
 

lockNload

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Great job PJ's! I also have the Boy Scout mentality and pack for contingencies. I tend to pack more than some but I also haven't run out of food or water and have been glad I've had my snivel gear when it gets cold at night.
 

Centermass

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The army helo didn't *crash* per se, it had landed and there was a terrain shift causing a rollover.

Just bad juju and fucking stupidity by the civvies tbh... you always fucking pack survival kit in birds up here, period. I don't give a shit if I'm going out for an hour, if i'm riding fixed or rotary wing up here I'm packing for a week stay.

I can say with 100% surety that at least the Blackhawk crew had their full compliments of ALSE SOP gear on board and most likely, shared what they had. Stuff is usually packed in an aviators kit bag and weighs a considerable amount. Being familiar with aviation assets at Wainwright, they never fly without them. Civilians should know better and always do the same, whether it's an A/C, a car or any other conveyance that could leave them stranded, during any season, up there in the great white north.
 
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