Coast Guard Medevacs King Cove Elder to Anchorage Today Due to Critical Health Concerns
July 27, 2015
The Coast Guard arrived in King Cove at noon on July 27, 2015 following concerns about an elderly man’s health condition. Photo by Lennie Brandell.This Marks the 3rd Coast Guard Medevac in King Cove in One Week
King Cove, AK – July 27, 2015 – The Coast Guard medevaced a King Cove male in his 70s today following serious concerns about his health condition.
“Because of previous medical conditions, there was cause for concern,” Coast Guard District 17 Petty Officer Kelly Parker said. “In the interest of time, it was better for the patient to be taken all the way to Anchorage by the Coast Guard so he could get a higher level of care.”
The patient arrived at the King Cove Clinic yesterday afternoon. Due to a weather hold (fog and limited visibility), Guardian Flight was unable to come into King Cove yesterday and today. The patient was stabilized overnight. However, the Coast Guard said his condition started to deteriorate this morning. A Coast Guard MH 60 Jayhawk helicopter was launched and arrived in King Cove at noon today to medevac the patient to Cold Bay’s all-weather airport. Once there, the Coast Guard transferred the patient to a C-130, which transported the elderly man to an Anchorage hospital.
“If we had a road linking King Cove to Cold Bay, our EMS squad could have transported the patientThe Coast Guard medevaced the King Cove male in his 70s to nearby Cold Bay’s all-weather airport. From there, he was transferred to a Coast Guard C-130 and taken to an Anchorage hospital. Photo by Lennie Brandell.to Cold Bay last night, rather than having to wait until his condition worsened,” said King Cove (Native) Corporation spokeswoman Della Trumble. “We’re praying that he will be o.k. U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell could have solved this problem so easily 18 months ago. Instead, we continue to put the lives of patients and others (Coast Guard personnel) at risk.”
This was the third Coast Guard medevac in one week. The Coast Guard conducted two back-to-back medevacs in King Cove last Monday (July 20, 2015). This is the fourth Coast Guard medevac this year. Since U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell rejected King Cove’s life-saving road, there have been 30 medevacs. Ten of those involved the Coast Guard.
The people of King Cove have battled for more than three decades to get a life-saving road corridor linking the isolated community to the all-weather Cold Bay Airport, located just 25 miles away. The small stretch of road needed (approximately 11 miles) would connect to existing roads in the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge. The road would provide reliable and safe transportation to medevac seriously ill or injured patients during frequent periods of harsh weather when travel by plane or boat is too dangerous.
In 2009, Congress and the President approved the road and a massive land swap (61,000Petty Officer Kelly Parker of District 17 said in the interest of time, the patient needed to be transported all the way to Anchorage by the Coast Guard to provide the patient with a higher level of care. Photo by Lennie Brandell.acres from the State and the King Cove Corporation) in exchange for a small, 206-acre, single-lane gravel road corridor to the nearby all-weather Cold Bay Airport. Following an environmental impact statement, which King Cove residents believe was biased, U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell rejected the road and land exchange just two days before Christmas 2013. On June 4, 2014, King Cove tribes, the corporation, the city and the Aleutians East Borough sued Jewell and other federal officials over the EIS and the road issue. In June 2015, the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies approved legislative language by Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, directing the Interior Department to do an equal-value land transfer to allow the construction of a connector road.
Photos and video available here.
For more information, visit http://www.aleutianseast.org/.
Communications Director, Aleutians East Borough
Office: (907) 274-7579