Alaskans Use Car Headlights To Guide Medevac Plane On Runway

Last weekend, a child in a small, remote village in Alaska needed to be flown to Anchorage for a medical emergency. LifeMed sent a plane, but the runway lights at the tiny Igiugig [[Ig-ee-AH-gig]] runway would not turn on. Locals tried to switch them on to guide the plane in, knowing that having no lights could keep a plane from landing, but nothing worked.

It was late, after 11pm, but when Ida Nelson heard that LifeMed plane fly overhead, she knew it had to be an emergency, so she rushed out to help. She rode her four-wheeler to the runway and tried to get the lights on as her neighbor called pretty much everyone in the village – it only took 32 calls – to get them out of bed to come line the runway with the lights on their cars, trucks and four-wheelers.

A local pilot contacted the LifeMed pilot, who circled as the villagers got their vehicles staggered, running the whole length of the runway to light the way. The plane was able to land, the patient was loaded on and the plane took off, all thanks to this determined community coming together.


Source: Alaska Public Media

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