Cars Light Up Runway To Enable Child’s Hospital Flight

Anna Kroupina, Open Jaw

Photo credit: Igiugig resident Ida Nelson who participated in helped illuminate the local airport
runway so a medical evacuation plane could land.

A senseless act of vandalism almost prevented a little girl from receiving medical treatment, but a tight-knit remote community came to the rescue with a bright idea. 

When a LifeMed Alaska plane was dispatched to the remote town of Igiugig to fly a child for special medical attention in Anchorage, it encountered a rather serious problem: the runway lights had been run over by an ATV and weren't operating. 

This meant the plane, dispatched in the evening, was unable to land without having visibility of the runway. 

As the plane circled overhead, residents of Igiugig, a town of about 70 people, sprung into action. 

They jumped into their vehicles, drove to the airport and pointed their headlights at the airport runway. This allowed the LifeMed pilot to land and safely evacuate the young girl to Anchorage to seek medical attention.

In an interview with The New York Times, tribal clerk Ida Nelson says her neighbour made some 30 phone calls to mobilize the villagers, and at least 20 vehicles participated in the effort, including her own Honda 4-by-4.

Anna Kroupina

Anna Kroupina Journalist

Anna is OJ's newest member and she joins the team as a writer/reporter. She co-writes the daily news and covers events. Although she's new to the industry, pursuing a career path in travel/tourism has been a goal since her first family road trip to the Florida Keys sparked a desire to discover the world and this exhilarating, fast-paced industry.

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