Stranded pilot, researchers rescued from Alaska volcano

Windsor Genova – Fourth Estate Cooperative Contributor

Anchorage, AK, United States (4E) – The Alaska Air National Guard on Friday rescued a helicopter pilot and two researchers who were stranded for two days on top of Mount Mageik due to continuous ice rain.

Troopers from the 11th Air Force’s Rescue Coordination Center pulled pilot Sam Egli of Egli Air Haul, geophysicist John Paskievitch of the United States Geological Survey and researcher Taryn Lopez of the University of Alaska-Fairbanks from the top of the 6,500-foot volcano at 5:30 p.m. on Friday. They were flown to King Salmon.

All were unharmed as they stayed inside the iced up helicopter and had sleeping bags, waterproof gear and emergency supplies.

Egli flew Paskievitch and Lopez to the volcano on Wednesday to retrieve a seismic monitoring station they set up in July near the edge of the caldera. Before they could finish packing up, a series of cloud came icing the helicopter’s blades and causing zero visibility.

Egli called back his passengers so they can evacuate when the cloud clears but the cloud stayed preventing them from taking off. After hours of waiting for a chance to take off, the pilot called for rescue.

A first rescue attempt on Wednesday failed due to the bad weather. The following day, rescuers could not land.

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