Two men from Aleknagik were rescued through a community effort Friday after being stranded on frozen ice on Aleknagik Lake.
Bruce Ilutsik, 28, and Grant Ilutsik, 33, reported hearing their boats “banging around” during an early morning wind storm. The two went to secure their boats, and noticed one of them had drifted off. In an attempt to retreive the boat, the two jumped into another boat. The motor failed on the boat the two men were in, causing them to drift in the large waves and high winds of over 50 mph.
The Aleknagik VPSO and another villager attemped to rescue the two, but were hindered by thick ice and large waves that nearly capsized their boat. The US Coast Guard was then contacted, and a rescue helicopter out of Cold Bay was dispatched to the two men.
Just after dawn, several villagers were able to walk across the ice and locate the Ilutsiks, who were taking shelter in their boat. Both the Ilutsiks and their boat were pulled back to shore, and the USCG was called off.
Both men were wet and cold when rescued, and were transported to Dillingham Hospital for evaluation.