ANCHORAGE -

Three U.S. Coast Guard medevacs from King Cove, including a father and his son’s within one week, have escalated a clash between state and federal officials over what critics call a road to nowhere.

On Dec. 23, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell turned down a state-federal land swap which would aid the construction of a road from the isolated East Aleutians Borough community of King Cove to Cold Bay, site of a jet-capable airstrip.

Last week, blizzard-like weather conditions prevented two medevacs in a single day from getting to the all-weather airport in Cold Bay.

Those advocating for a road say this incident only strengthens the argument that a road needs to be built.

Last Monday things turned for the worst for Walter Wilson while he was out cod fishing.

“We were just stacking gear and it was king of swelly out,” Wilson said.

That’s when a 600-pound crab pot untied and fell on Wilson, dislocating both legs while also fracturing his left leg.

“It was painful -- I had one leg all cockeyed over, and I wasn’t able to do anything with it until I got here in town,” Wilson said Wednesday, from his hospital bed at the Alaska Native Medical Center in Anchorage.

Wilson waited to be medevaced to Anchorage from the clinic in King Cove, but the weather was so bad the Coast Guard wasn’t able to reach him. Wilson later found out his six-week-old son, Wyatt, needed to be airlifted as well.

Wyatt was suffering from respiratory distress and at one point during the night stopped breathing. Wilson and his son waited until morning before making it out.

When Jewell turned down the land swap to build the road, she said she wanted to protect migratory waterfowl in the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski is one of the strongest advocates for building a road. She said Wednesday that Wilson and his son’s experience only strengthen the argument for connecting the two communities.

“When we have a better alternative that’s being denied to the good people of King Cove because the Secretary of the Interior is concerned about birds, that’s just wrong,” Murkowski said.

Murkowski says the road would cost the federal government nothing, but its absence could cost lives.

“We could have lost that baby, we could have -- these are people’s lives,” Murkowski said.

“People are always getting hurt,” Wilson said. “Our lives are more important than the birds.”

Wilson and his son aren’t the only ones that were medevaced recently, with a third person airlifted out of King Cove Monday -- but again, weather prevented a quick rescue. That makes five times the Coast Guard has had to fly patients out of King Cove this year.

On Wednesday, Channel 2 reached out to Secretary Jewell. Her office responded saying the department has attempted several times to schedule a meeting with Murkowski.

Meanwhile, Murkowski said she plans on meeting with Jewell next week.