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2 Coast Guard members ‘seriously injured’ in helicopter crash

A U.S. Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Timothy M. Black/Released)
November 15, 2023

Two Coast Guard members from Air Station Sitka in Alaska suffered serious injuries late Monday night in an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crash during a search and rescue mission.

press release by the U.S. Coast Guard explained that after the helicopter crashed at 11:05 p.m. on Read Island, rescue crews from Petersburg Fire and Rescue and Alaska Wildlife Troopers arrived at the scene about 12:50 a.m. Tuesday, prior to a second MH-60 Jayhawk air team from Air Station Sitka arriving at 1:39 a.m.

The Coast Guard explained that the rescue teams provided “preliminary medical care” to two members of the MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter team who received serious injuries during the crash.

“The four crew members were hoisted aboard the second Coast Guard helicopter and were transported to Petersburg for medical care,” the press release stated. “They were then transferred to Seattle via a C-130 Hercules aircraft from Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak for a higher level of care.”

The Coast Guard noted that watchstanders were notified of the Jayhawk helicopter crash by Lydia Marie, a fishing vessel that was receiving search and rescue aid from the helicopter team for an issue with flooding on the vessel.

READ MORE: 5 US Special Ops killed in helicopter crash

According to Stars and Stripes, while the cause of the crash is currently under investigation, the National Weather Service had reported near-freezing temperatures Monday night in the area, a mixture of snow and rain, and possible guests of winds up to 20 mph.

Addressing Monday night’s incident, Rear Adm. Megan Dean, commander of the Coast Guard’s 17th District, said, “Our priority is to provide the highest level of care possible for our injured members and their families.

“We are grateful for the swift response and professional skill shown by the Alaska Wildlife Troopers and Petersburg Fire and Rescue members who answered our call for assistance during this critical time,” he added. “We have opened an investigation into the cause of this event and will be forthcoming with the results as they become available.”

While the four crew members of the Jayhawk helicopter were rescued from the crash, the Coast Guard dispatched the Elderberry and Douglas Denman cutters to provide assistance to the damaged Lydia Marie fishing vessel and establish a security zone at the site of the crash to preserve the crash site for investigators.

The Coast Guard also provided an update on the helicopter crash incident Tuesday on X, formerly Twitter.

“Coast Guard crew members injured in the MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crash Monday night on Read Island continue to receive medical care, and the search and rescue case for fishing vessel Lydia Marie has been completed,” U.S. Coast Guard Alaska stated. “The two Coast Guard members reported to have serious injuries were listed in serious condition, while the other two members were listed in good condition with minor injuries.”