US Coast Guard retrieve downed MH-60 helicopter from Read Island

Wreckage of US Coast Guard MH-60 helicopter on barge at Read Island, Alaska.
Photo Credit: US Coast Guard

On Friday December 8 2023, the US Coast Guard successfully retrieved a downed MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter that crashed near Read Island, Alaska during a rescue operation on November 13.

The four crew members involved in the crash on Nov. 13, 2023, all survived.

The November 13 Rescue Mission


On Novermber 13, the MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter was on a critical rescue mission when it crashed, in the vicinity of Read Island, approximately 80 miles from Sitka, Alaska.

The Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk has been operating a search and rescue mission from its base at Coast Guard Air Station Sitka.

Swift action saw the four crewmembers involved medevaced to Seattle, where they were admitted to Harborview Medical Center. The magnitude of the recovery mission was met with a unified response from multiple entities.

The Coast Guard, the U.S. Army’s Downed Aircraft Recovery Team, Forest Service, National Weather Service, Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, Petersburg Fire & Rescue, and independent contractors all played pivotal roles.

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Photo Credit: US Coast Guard

Crewmembers Released


The four aircrew members involved, after receiving medical attention at Harborview Medical Center, have subsequently been released.

Coast Guard Capt Brian McLaughlin, heading the Crisis Action Team, expressed gratitude for the recovery of the crew members and acknowledged the extensive support from various individuals and organizations.

“We are grateful our four crewmembers were released from Harborview Medical Center and are on the road to recovery,” said Capt. Brian McLaughlin in a statement.

“We are also incredibly thankful to the many people and organizations who helped us recover the aircraft. Getting the helicopter to where our investigators can better examine the wreckage is the next step in the ongoing investigation.”

Examining the Wreckage


With the wreckage of the MH-60 Jayhawk now retrieved, the focus now shifts to the wreckage examination.

Captain McLaughlin emphasized the significance of relocating the helicopter to a designated area, facilitating a thorough investigation.

This step is crucial in unraveling the circumstances surrounding the crash and gaining insights into preventive measures for future operations.

Security Zone Disestablished: Progress in Investigation

Simultaneously, the Coast Guard announced the disestablishment of the security zone encompassing the crash site, a development marking progress in the ongoing investigation.

The decision reflects the confidence in advancing to the next phase, bringing investigators closer to the critical task of analyzing the crash site in detail.

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The US Coast Guard successfully retrieved a downed MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter that had crashed near Read Island, Alaska during a rescue mission
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