Seal hunters rescued by Coast Guard

    ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KINY) Six seal hunters stranded on Saint Lawrence Island were rescued by the U.S. Coast Guard.

    Air Station Kodiak sent an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter to rescue the hunters, five adults and one child, about 25 miles southeast of Savoonga on the St. Lawrence Island.  They were listed in good condition after being flown to the Savoonga airport.

    Coast Guard District 17 watchstanders received a request from the Alaska State Troopers in Nome Sunday at 2:30 a.m., for the rescue of six seal hunters. It was reported the hunting party departed camp on all-terrain vehicles Saturday, but due to the inclement weather, was unable to return. The six hunters were not properly dressed for the cold and did not have shelter at their location.

    A Savoonga search party estimated it would take 10 to 12 hours to get to the hunting party’s location. Coast Guard District 17 watchstanders directed the launch of the Jayhawk helicopter crew forward deployed to Kotzebue to assist in the rescue of the six hunters.

    The aircrew located the six hunters taking shelter in a makeshift cabin, landed in snowy conditions and safely transported them to the Savoonga airport at 9:30 a.m.  “Our crew did a great job navigating through poor weather,” said Lt. Cmdr. Tom Huntley, aircraft commander of the Jayhawk rescue helicopter.” It was a great feeling to return the adults and young boy safely to their village.”

    Weather on scene was 27 degrees and 20 mph winds with blowing snow and visibility from one to five miles. Savoonga is 300 miles southwest of Kotzebue and 665 miles west-northwest of Anchorage. 

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