12 mountaineers rescued after getting stranded in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park

12 were recently rescued from Wrangell-St. Elias National Park.
12 were recently rescued from Wrangell-St. Elias National Park.(Alaska's News Source)
Published: May. 30, 2021 at 3:11 PM AKDT|Updated: Jun. 2, 2021 at 11:02 AM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - A group of 12 mountaineers have been rescued after getting stranded in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park over the weekend. The rescue came a day after a pilot and passenger, who were on a separate trip, were also rescued in the area.

The pilot and passenger, two men in their 60s from New York, were rescued early Monday morning after being stranded near Mt. Hawkins due to weather. They took off from Talkeetna on Saturday in a Cessna 182 and were traveling toward Yakutat, according to a release from the National Park Service.

Despite multiple attempts over the weekend, rescue crews were unable to reach the pair until 2 a.m. Monday. The men were taken to an Anchorage medical center for treatment of minor injuries, according to the release.

The mountaineers, who were also stranded Saturday due to weather, were finally rescued just before 5 p.m. on Tuesday. The group was being guided by St. Elias Alpine Guides and were stranded on Klutlan Glacier near Mt. Bona.

According to earlier updates from the National Park Service, the mountaineers were on a high-altitude training mission when two of them started experiencing symptoms of high-altitude sickness. A third person was reported to have cold-related injuries.

Similarly to the rescue of the pilot and passenger, multiple attempts to rescue the mountaineers were made over the weekend, but they were unsuccessful due to poor weather conditions. Efforts to rescue the group continued through the beginning of the week.

Once rescued, the flight medic treated and stabilized the two mountaineers experiencing symptoms of high-altitude sickness, as well as the third mountaineer who had minor frostbite injuries. They were medevaced to Anchorage after reaching Gulkana Airport.

Multiple agencies were involved in the rescues, including the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve Search and Rescue Team, Alaska Rescue Coordination Center, National Park Service, Alaska Air National Guard, Alaska Army National Guard, Ultima Thule Lodge, St. Elias Alpine Guides, Gulkana Fuel and a medical advisor for the region.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

Correction: A photo that incorrectly labeled the locations of Mt. Hawkins and Mt. Bona has been replaced with an accurate map.

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