BARROW - Rescuers used helicopters to pluck 18 seal hunters from islands of sea ice that broke away in the Arctic Ocean offshore from Barrow on Sunday afternoon. No one was injured.
The hunters became stranded when three large water channels suddenly broke up the ice between them and shore, Randy Crosby, director of North Slope Borough Search and Rescue, said today.
Rescuers set out in two borough helicopters for the two-hour effort. Pilot Price Brower said the hunters were scattered over a 5-mile stretch of shoreline. Some of the hunters were on an ice floe 3 miles out, Brower said. The ice islands were large enough to land the helicopters on, Crosby said. It took rescuers five trips to pick up the hunters, 13 snowmachines, some sleds and small skiffs. Crews used slings to transport the equipment back to town.