Seven People Rescued at Remote Alaska Fishing Camp After Being Stranded for a Week

by Taylor Cunningham

Last week, seven people had to be airlifted away from a remote Alaska fishing camp. The group had been stranded for seven days by the time officials were able to reach them.

According to KYUK Public Media, a group of hunters from Pilot Station, Alaska, got stuck outside of Emmonak on their way home from a trip. The hunters live in a village near the lower Yukon River. And each fall, they travel the coastline to hunt for seals. But as they were making their way home this year, the river completely iced over.

When the group reached the river banks, the water was only partially frozen. So they thought it was safe to camp for the night before taking their boat back to their village. But as they slept, the water became impassible.

“While they were there overnight, the river iced over,” said troopers spokesperson Austin McDaniel said on Tuesday. “So the ice on the river is too thick to run a boat. And it’s not thick enough to run a snowmachine there. And there’s no overland route to get to this spot.”

On October 29th, the group was able to contact the US Coast Guard using a satellite communication device called an Inreach. But due to bad weather and mechanical issues, the guard couldn’t reach the hunters. So they directed them to a nearby fishing camp where they could seek shelter.

By that night, the Alaskan state troopers were notified that the people were “stuck” at the fishing camp. And the group needed food, water, and medicine. Using a small plane, the troopers were able to drop a box of supplies two days later.

Helicopter Crews Were Able to Reach a Group of Hunters That was Trapped at an Alaska Fishing Camp

The weather continued to worsen as the group waited by the shore. And freezing fog kept helicopter crews grounded for days.

‘It’s like, the plane will be there, the chopper will be there, and it never showed up,’ said camper Rex Nick.

Two US army helicopters had planned to rescue the group on Friday. But thanks to a break in the weather, a Coast Guard helicopter from Nome managed to reach them a day early.

“Safely extracting the group as quickly as possible was a top priority for all of the agencies involved in this operation,” McDaniel said.

On Thursday night, an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew airlifted six adults and one teenager to safety and took them back to Nome.

None of the campers were injured, and troopers reported that the group had been “adequately supplied with food, water, shelter, and necessary supplies.”