ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — An Alaska couple stranded in a boat on a flooding river in Southwest Alaska was rescued by National Guard rescue crews.
The pair from Napaimute needed to be rescued Thursday as the Kuskokwim River flooded and they were unable to reach higher ground, Alaska State Troopers said.
John Borowski, 75, and Seraphine Borowski, 74, live in a cabin on the river’s south bank across from the seasonal village, where water rose in the area after ice slabs jammed the river about 7 miles (11 kilometers) below Napaimute.
The Alaska Air National Guard rescue squadrons left Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage in an HC-130J Hercules airplane and a HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter to search for the couple, officials said.
The Borowskis had climbed into the boat and tied the craft to their cabin to wait out the flood. The pair communicated by VHF radio with other residents and aircraft that were monitoring river conditions.
The pair were lifted to the helicopter from 140 feet (43 meters) above the water so the helicopter’s rotor wash did not jostle the boat. The couple was uninjured and flown to Aniak after the rescue, National Guard officials said.
“They needed to be hoisted as quickly as possible because the rising flood waters washed out their home and they were adrift in the dark, ice filled river,” Lt. Col. Keenan Zerkel, director of the Alaska Rescue Coordination Center, said in the statement.