Man in survival suit rescued from Montague Island

A U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter aircrew forward deployed to Cordova poses with a man they rescued after he was stranded for three days on Montague Island, near Cordova. The rescue occurred on June 13. Photo by Coast Guard Petty Officer 3rd Class Lauren Dean

A 66-year-old man stranded on Montague Island in the Gulf of Alaska for three days after his vessel struck a rock and sank was rescued on June 13 by a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter crew from Kodiak forward-deployed to Cordova.

The Coast Guard responded after receiving notification from a Good Samaritan vessel of people reported to have been seen in survival suits on the rocks near the southern tip of the island, which lies at the entrance to Prince William Sound. After the Good Samaritan vessel was unable to establish contact or get to the people, an urgent marine information broadcast was issued and granted use of an Air Station Kodiak Jayhawk helicopter crew and a Coast Guard Station Valdez 45-foot response boat-medium crew to assist with the search.

Once on scene, an aviation survival technician deployed to the beach from the helicopter and confirmed one person in a survival suit on the island, which has no permanent residents. The aircrew hoisted the man from the beach and transported him to Cordova for higher-level care.

He was reported to have been dehydrated, but otherwise in stable condition.

Coast Guard Lt. j.g. Angella Thuotte, a Sector Anchorage command duty officer, said this case was exactly why having all available survival equipment on hand is an absolute necessity in Alaska.

“With the severe temperature drops, even I the summer, preparation increases the likelihood of survivability,” she said.