Helicopter detours to make second Alaska rescue

FAIRBANKS, Alaska — A National Guard helicopter crew returning from picking up a hunter suffering heart problems in Alaska made an unexpected rescue when it spotted three men in pickup truck that was overturned in a creek and partially submerged.

Steven Alley Sr. of Valdez told the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner that he and his son spent 20 minutes Wednesday in a pickup truck that had left the Richardson Highway south of Paxson in snowy conditions and entered a creek. Alley’s son, Steven Alley Jr., suffered a broken neck.

Alaska State Troopers described the weather as “blizzard-like,” and Steven Alley Sr. estimated about 3 inches of snow had fallen on the road.

He said he was complaining because no one had cleared the road when he lost control of his pickup. Troopers say the pickup spun 180 degrees and rolled down an embankment into the creek.

The helicopter crew spotted the truck, and the crew freed the men and hoisted them to the helicopter.

“My son was on top of me, and the lower part of our bodies were in the water,” Steven Alley Sr. said. “I’m thinking if it hadn’t been for that military helicopter he might not have made it.”

Alley’s stepson also was in the vehicle but was uninjured.

The senior Alley suffered broken ribs. Steven Alley Jr. was transported to Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage.

The hunter, Michael Lavin, 67, of Anchorage, also was transported to an Anchorage hospital and was in stable condition, troopers said.

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