HomeOutdoorsNewsAlaska State Troopers, Coast Guard Rescue Missing 63-Year-Old Hunter Lost in Wilderness

Alaska State Troopers, Coast Guard Rescue Missing 63-Year-Old Hunter Lost in Wilderness

by Sean Griffin
(Photo by Lisa Lake/Getty Images)

After he had been reported missing, a 63-year-old hunter was found near Klawock, Alaska, according to the Alaska Department of Public Safety.

The man was identified as Irving Langmaid of Klawock, Alaska. He was hunting on Saturday, but never made it to his group and was alone.

Alaska State Troopers were contacted in the early evening hours. However, once night fell, troopers reached out to the U.S. Coast Guard for assistance finding Langmaid. 

“We have a system that allows us to see a little easier in the night, especially from the air,” said USCG Petty Officer Lexie Preston.

A Coast Guard Air Station Sitka MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew launched from there. They arrived at Langmaid’s location at around 8:37 p.m.

At the time, weather conditions included a temperature of 32 degrees. The wind speed was about 5-15 knots (5.8 to 17.3 mph) at the time, according to Preston.

Footage from the air shows the nighttime rescue. Langmaid appears as a white figure surrounded by dark outlines of trees. He waves his arms to catch the attention of the helicopter.

Hunter ‘Very Lucky’ Coast Guard Found Him, Officials Say

As the helicopter flies closer to him, the hunter starts to walk toward the aircraft.

A helicopter crew member then went down and met Langmaid. He then helped him into a basket.

Langmaid was then hoisted up into the helicopter.

The USCG flew Langmaid to the Klawock airport. There, emergency medical service and Alaska State Troopers were waiting, and they then transported Langmaid to a clinic for medical evaluation.

“This case really highlights the need for people to carry some sort of signaling device when you are out recreating,” said LCDR Scott M. Woodcock, the Aircraft Commander flying the helicopter that found Langmaid. “This hunter was very lucky that we found him on our FLIR (Forward Looking IfraRed) system.”

LCDR Woodcock noted that some devices are better than others. However, while a satellite-based emergency locating device, emergency strobe, or flare would increase your chances, even a signaling device as simple as a cigarette lighter could be the difference in getting rescued. He said that with their night vision goggles, the Coast Guard can detect the light of a lighter up to 5 miles away.

“We are grateful for the teamwork between the Alaska State Trooper, Klawock Search and Rescue, and the Air Station Sitka aircrew,” said Ensign Max Carfagno, Sector Juneau command duty officer. “That assisted in the timely response to locate the man and get him to safety.”

Kwalock, Alaska is a town that sits on the west coast of Prince of Wales Island, on Klawock Inlet. It is across from Klawock Island. The population was 755 at the 2010 census, which is down from 854 in 2000.