Lost on the trail? You’re probably going to meet the Alaska National Guard

Published: Oct. 14, 2022 at 7:04 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Crisp, vivid glacier ice and and an endless cascade of mountains are just a snippet of what Alaska Army National Guard members see as they fly above the Alaskan terrain searching for a missing person.

Often, the guard searches for a hiker, snowmachiner or hunter that has gotten lost. During this time of the year, according to the guard, they tend to search for hikers that have wandered off of the trail.

“It’s typically more so hikers. And people going and getting into situations they didn’t foresee,” said Isaac Temple of the Alaska Army National Guard.

Since 2017, the Alaska Army National Guard has flown over 300 rescue flight hours in search of people who need their help. In 2022 so far, they have conducted between 10 and 15 rescues.

Each rescue varies due to weather conditions and the facts crew members know before going in, ranging from quick recoveries to longer search missions.

“Just up in Arctic Valley that have lasted no more than 20 minutes, and then we have had other missions that lasted days,” Temple said.

Temple said finding someone however can be a struggle if they are dressed in camouflage, something they often encounter with hunters.

The guard encourages those going out on hunts or hikes to bring reflectors, a GPS notification system and to someone know about your plans — it can help with determining a location for rescue attempts.

Additionally, a guard member said, people should call right away if they are facing an emergency to make sure help is dispatched as soon as possible.

“The quicker they can get out the call and alert the rescue coordination center as far as where they are, we will be able to better devise a plan as to how to get there,” Temple said.