A reportedly suicidal man was rescued Tuesday evening from a raft sinking in the waters of Cook Inlet just outside Anchorage. Initial reports that an Air National Guard helicopter used its rotor wash -- the force of air pushed downward from the helicopter blades, which can kick up waves when poised over water -- to push the raft toward shore turned out to be false, and the rescue occurred despite a convoluted chain of communication between rescue agencies. [emphasis added - Ed.]
The Alaska Dispatch (linked, above) admits the initial report was wrong. The others? They're reported the corrected story as if it were an entirely separate event, with literally no mention of the mistakes.
What a surprise. So what did happen?
According to Alaska State Troopers, the initial call came in shortly after 6 p.m. Tuesday, when a man called 911 “reporting he was adrift in a raft and wanted to die,” in Cook Inlet between Anchorage and Fire Island, a 6-mile-long uninhabited island located 3 miles from the city. The Alaska State Troopers’ on-call search and rescue coordinator was contacted and then contacted the troopers’ helicopter pilot to see if they would be able to conduct a rescue.
... Positioning the helicopter about 15 feet offset from the raft, an elite pararescue jumper entered the water and was able to swim to the raft in the choppy water using his “super-athlete skills,” Ott said. The man was reportedly very cold, so the PJ loaded him into the hoist and he was plucked from the raft.
“There was a radio transmission as we were offsetting while we were looking at the survivor. We said on the radio, ‘our rotor wash is blowing him into Fire Island,’” Ott said. That message was apparently conveyed to the Coast Guard Command Center and made its way into a news release that was widely disseminated by local media ...
I guess this explains why there wasn't a video of the "prop wash saves guy" on Youtube. :)
I haven't always been complimentary toward the Alaska Dispatch, but applaud them for admitting the false report (not their fault). Well done, Dispatch!