Helicopter crash survivor rescued in Alaska; 3 missing

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The U.S. Coast Guard says it rescued one survivor of a helicopter crash near a bay in southeast Alaska and is searching for three others.

The agency says the 14-year-old survivor of the Friday crash showed signs of mild hypothermia but is in good condition, the Anchorage Daily News reported .

The crash happened near Lituya Bay, about 120 miles (193 kilometers) northwest of Juneau, officials said.

Two adults and two adolescents were aboard the crashed helicopter that was reported to be brand new out of the factory, according to the Coast Guard.

The agency declined to identify them. However, family friend Jeff Brodsky said two of the missing victims were Josh Pepperd, of Anchorage, and his son Andrew, the Anchorage Daily News reported. Pepperd’s son Aiden was found, Brodsky said.

“We are holding onto hope that a miracle will happen,” said Brodsky, who said he has been in touch with family and friends gathered at the hospital where Aiden was taken for treatment.

Pepperd owns Davis Constructors and Engineers, a leading Alaska contractor based in Anchorage.

The helicopter was on a trip that began in Grand Prairie, Texas, bound for Wasilla, Alaska.

The Coast Guard command center in Juneau received an overdue aircraft alert at about 6:30 p.m. Friday from the Juneau Flight Service Station. The private helicopter had been expected to reach Yakutat on Friday but had not arrived, the alert said.

Clint Johnson, chief of the National Transportation Safety Board in Alaska, said the agency is sending investigators to the crash site.

“We understand they found wreckage in shallow water,” Johnson said. “This is an active search and rescue at this point.”

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Information from: Anchorage Daily News, http://www.adn.com

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