Hikers rescued near China Poot Lake

An Alaska Air Guard Guardian Angel team early on July 28 rescued two hikers lost near China Poot Lake on the south shore of Kachemak Bay. An Air Guard Pavehawk helicopter took Patrick King, 57, of Kenai, and Victoria Baldasarre, 55, of Amherst, N.H., to the Homer Airport. Both were uninjured. The hikers wandered off the China Poot Lake Trail in Kachemak Bay State Park and tried for several hours to find the trail.

In an unrelated incident, Girdwood Fire Department staff helped a Homer woman get to safety after she twisted an ankle on the Upper Winner Creek Trail near Girdwood on Aug. 1. Ann Marie Bailey, 61, was taken with an ankle injury to an Anchorage hospital by a friend.

Alaska State Troopers received a report at about 12:20 a.m. last Tuesday from the International Emergency Response Coordination Center that an SOS signal had been picked up by a Spot beacon registered to King. A Spot is a personal locator device that owners can turn on to get help. In a press release, troopers said that because of difficult terrain where the signal came from, they asked for help from the Alaska Rescue Coordination Center at Joint Base Elmendorf Richardson, Anchorage.

The RCC launched an HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter from the 210th Rescue Squadron and an HC-130 King aircraft from the 211th Rescue Squadron, each with a team of Guardian Angel pararescuers from the 212th Rescue Squadron on board. The rescue teams flew directly to the Spot position and found the hikers near China Poot Lake at about 7:45 a.m. July 28.

In the Girdwood incident, about 10:45 a.m. Aug. 1, troopers received a report that Bailey had hurt her ankle and could not walk out. She had severely sprained her ankle on July 31. She and fellow hikers spent the night on the trail in hopes Bailey could rest her ankle and be well enough to hike out the next day. However, on Saturday she could not bear weight on her ankle and asked for assistance. Girdwood firefighters helped her get off the trail system and to a road.

Michael Armstrong can be reached at michael.armstrong@homernews.com.

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