men are trapped atop Sharatin Mountain on Kodiak Island,
pinned down by high winds and blizzard conditions. As of this afternoon, weather
conditions were preventing a Coast Guard helicopter from Air Station Kodiak
from responding. Petty Officer Walter Shinn said winds are gusting to 50 miles
per hour, and visibility on the mountain is too low for a rescue attempt.
Kenai Cable Company president Walt Ebell says the four men include Brian
Kincaid, the company's chief operating officer, and three contractors from
Belarde Custom Concrete Company of Kodiak. They have not yet
been identified. Ebell says the men are installing the first tower in an
island-wide network of high-speed microwave relays.
men were dropped off with a week of supplies in good weather Sunday to continue
work on the tower, which had been halted with the onset of winter. During the
night, high winds reportedly blew away one tent and some of the supplies.
says the four men are now back together, after three were separated during the
night. The three reportedly hunkered down in a snow cave on the leeward side of
the mountain, about 10 miles west of Kodiak
member of the group called the Coast Guard at about 5 a.m. on a satellite
phone, reporting he was in good condition. The other three called at 7:45 on
VHF radio reporting mild frostbite and hypothermia symptoms.
says if weather conditions improve, a contract helicopter will pick them up on
Tuesday. Meanwhile, Shinn says the Coast Guard will launch sooner if conditions
permit. Shinn said the Alaska State Troopers are planning to send a ground
party up the mountain, which Ebell confirmed.