Coordinated effort saves stranded sheep hunter

A hunter who slipped on a slope and became stranded on a scree cliff while trying to recover the sheep he had harvested was rescued Saturday, Aug. 29 in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park & Preserve.

The 47-year-old hunter from Wasilla had descended a slope near the confluence of the Nabesna River and Totschunda Creek when he slid down onto the cliff. He was uninjured and able to use a DeLorme inReach device to send an emergency message and report his coordinates via the International Emergency Response Coordination Center.

National Park Service officials then requested assistance from the Alaska Rescue Coordination Center at Joint Base Elmendorf Richardson.

An Army helicopter from Fort Wainwright was dispatched and arrived on scene at about 9 p.m. but was unable to hoist the hunter from the slope. Pararescuemen from the 212th Rescue Squadron were then dispatched from the 210th Rescue Squadron at JBER and were able to lift the hunter to safety at about 6:45 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 30. He was transported to the NPS Ranger Station at Slana to be reunited with his family.

The harvested sheep was salvaged and surrendered to Alaska Wildlife Troopers.

NPS officials said the rescue was a coordinated effort of the International Emergency Response Coordination Center, Alaska Wildlife Troopers, Alaska Air National Guard and NPS.