A mother and heroic townspeople save the lives of 6 people in the Alaskan wilderness.
When a plane with 10 people on board crashed in Alaska on Friday, there was little hope for the 6 survivors. All but one had serious leg injuries, and the only one who didn’t was the mother of an infant son who was going to pass away. As she gave him CPR, she also used her phone to call authorities. Eventually it became clear that if any of them were going to survive, the mother would have to set out into the 12 degree Alaskan backcountry to guide rescuers to the wreckage of the Cessna 208.
That was when the local villagers became the heroes of this story. Before any authorities had arrived, local townspeople had come to the rescue and were taking turns carrying people to safety.
The LA Times reports:
Residents took to trucks and snowmobiles, forming their own search-and-rescue effort, but couldn’t locate the downed plane — or the rest of the survivors — until 25-year-old Melanie Coffee struggled toward town and pointed the way. By the time the two paramedics arrived by plane, about 50 people from the town were already on the scene, tending to the survivors and helping carry them to safety.
The two LifeMed Alaska paramedics said the town’s residents bushwhacked through the tundra and brought their own stretchers to the crash site, which was inaccessible to snowmobiles.
Six to eight people at a time helped carry the survivors to safety, with replacements taking turns as volunteers tired in the 12-degree cold.
“It was heavy, it was slippery, a lot of people were running out of breath,” said paramedic Dalton, noting that it took about half an hour to get from town to the crash site.
Thoughts and prayers go out to Melanie Coffee for the loss of her son, and the families of the others who died that day. And our praise and gratitude to the townspeople who knew that they were the ones who could change the future for not just the survivors, but all of the people who love them.
Photo: Flickr/Gerard van der Schaaf