Alaska’s Army National Guard Helped Rescue 3 Iditarod Sled-Dog Teams That Went Into Frigid Arctic Floodwaters
- A Black Hawk helicopter from the Alaska Army National Guard was dispatched on March 20 to rescue Iditarod mushers after they and their sled dog teams went through flood waters.
- Overnight winds pushed seawater onto the Iditarod Trail, and the mushers weren’t aware that it was underwater.
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Aircrew with the Alaska Army National Guard’s 1st Battalion, 207th Aviation Regiment, transported three Iditarod mushers after they and their sled dog teams went through flood waters along the Iditarod Trail on Friday morning, March 20, about 25 miles outside of Nome.
The Alaska Rescue Coordination Center received a distress signal from a personal locator beacon and contacted the Army National Guard to request support from Nome personnel.
“We received coordinates at about 9:45 this morning, and were in the air with two Nome firefighter EMTs and two dog handlers at 10:15,” said Chief Warrant Officer 3 Josh Claeys, pilot in command of the UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter that performed the search-and-rescue mission.
Southblowing winds had persisted overnight and pushed seawater up onto the Iditarod Trail, and the mushers weren’t aware that it was under water, according to Claeys. It was dark at the time, he said, and the mushers went through the water.