Hope for the best, but plan for the worst

  • By Peninsula Clarion Editorial
  • Thursday, February 2, 2017 8:36pm
  • Opinion

It was a week of joy and sorrow for many here on the central Kenai Peninsula.

We were relieved and grateful to hear the news Monday evening that the pilot and passengers of a small plane, missing since Sunday, had been located and were “alive and well.”

At the same time, we were saddened to hear of the death of a Soldotna man caught in an avalanche while snowmachining near Cooper Landing, even as we were glad to learn that another rider had been rescued.

We also hope everyone reading this takes to heart the comments from Lt. Joseph Plunkett, the pilot of the Coast Guard rescue helicopter that picked up the pilot and passengers of the missing plane: “This rescue was possible because of the joint effort put forth between the Coast Guard and Alaska Rescue Coordination Center and because the pilot was prepared with the necessary safety equipment. I can’t put enough emphasis on how crucial it is to have safety equipment whenever transiting through Alaska. Alaska is full of remote and often dangerous areas, and in this case, because the pilot was prepared, we were able to rescue the three people and bring them back to their family.”

We heartily agree with Lt. Plunkett’s sentiments. We sometimes forget just how big and wild Alaska is — and how quickly we can find ourselves in some of those dangerous situations.

According to accounts, the Soldotna men caught in the avalanche while snowmachining were carrying avalanche beacons, which allowed those on the scene to find the buried rider quickly — though with the snow described as being set up like concrete, it still took some 15 minutes to dig him out.

And while the locator beacon on the downed plane was an older model, which slowed the search effort, the pilot was prepared with safety equipment, including a flare to signal other aircraft.

It may seem at times that safety precautions are unnecessary — after all, it’s just a short flight from Anchorage to the peninsula, for example — but in a worst-case scenario, that extra bit of preparedness gives you that much more of a chance at being rescued.

Even for a short trip, make sure someone knows where you’re going, and who to call if you don’t return when you’re supposed to. Check the first-aid kit. Make sure there’s batteries in the flashlight and extra warm layers packed or stowed.

We’re appreciative of all of our fellow Alaskans who are willing to help when someone finds themselves in trouble, from volunteer searchers to professional rescue personnel. And we hope that before venturing out across Alaska — whether you’re planning just a quick trip or a grand excursion — take a few minutes to make sure that in the event of an emergency, you’re prepared.

More in Opinion

This image available under the Creative Commons license shows the outline of the state of Alaska filled with the pattern of the state flag.
Opinion: Old models of development are not sustainable for Alaska

Sustainability means investing in keeping Alaska as healthy as possible.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy unveils proposals to offer public school teachers annual retention bonuses and enact policies restricting discussion of sex and gender in education during a news conference in Anchorage. (Screenshot)
Opinion: As a father and a grandfather, I believe the governor’s proposed laws are anti-family

Now, the discrimination sword is pointing to our gay and transgender friends and families.

Kenai Peninsula Education Association President Nathan Erfurth works in his office on Thursday, Oct. 28, 2021, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Voices of the Peninsula: Now is the time to invest in Kenai Peninsula students

Parents, educators and community members addressed the potential budget cuts with a clear message.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy holds a press conference at the Capitol on Tuesday, April 9, 2019. (Juneau Empire file photo)
Opinion: An accurate portrayal of parental rights isn’t controversial

Affirming and defining parental rights is a matter of respect for the relationship between parent and child

Opinion: When the state values bigotry over the lives of queer kids

It has been a long, difficult week for queer and trans Alaskans like me.

Dr. Sarah Spencer. (Photo by Maureen Todd and courtesy of Dr. Sarah Spencer)
Voices of the Peninsula: Let’s bring opioid addiction treatment to the Alaskans who need it most

This incredibly effective and safe medication has the potential to dramatically increase access to treatment

Unsplash / Louis Velazquez
Opinion: Fish, family and freedom… from Big Oil

“Ultimate investment in the status quo” is not what I voted for.

An orphaned moose calf reared by the author is seen in 1970. (Stephen F. Stringham/courtesy photo)
Voices of the Peninsula: Maximizing moose productivity on the Kenai Peninsula

Maximum isn’t necessarily optimum, as cattle ranchers learned long ago.

(Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire File)
Opinion: The time has come to stop Eastman’s willful and wanton damage

God in the Bible makes it clear that we are to care for the vulnerable among us.

Caribou graze on the greening tundra of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in northeast Alaska in June, 2001. (Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)
Opinion: AIDEA’s $20 million-and-growing investment looks like a bad bet

Not producing in ANWR could probably generate a lot of money for Alaska.

A fisher holds a reel on the Kenai River near Soldotna on June 30, 2021. (Photo by Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Voices of the Peninsula: King salmon closures long overdue

Returns have progressively gone downhill since the early run was closed in June 2012

(Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire File)
Opinion: Fixing legislative salaries and per diem

The state Senate was right to unanimously reject giving a 20% pay… Continue reading