Accident on Birch creek
We floated birch creek this year again, but no luck. Saw a couple cows and only one bull, but didn't get an opportunity for a shot. We hunted hard for 12 days, but that's the way it goes. On the 14th, we were camped about river mile 83 and a group of very cold hunters walked into our camp about 7 pm. They were suffering early stages of hypothermia.
Apparently, the jet boat they went up in stalled out and they couldn't get it running, so they decided to try to float it down with only paddles. They also had a canoe, which they had loaded a bull they had shot that day. They couldn't control the boat to avoid a sweeper and it hit hard on the pilot house and then folded the whole boat and sank it immediately. Both of the men went into the water along with all of their gear. They luckily managed to clear the boat and get to shore.
The man in the canoe managed to get a couple items before everything was swept down river. They had no warm clothing and no means to start a fire. They all got in their canoe and started downriver to try to make it out that night. Luckily they found our camp as I don't think one of them would have made it, as he was already shivering uncontrollably.
we got the men warm and put them in extra clothes, fed them and had them call on our sat phone to family letting them know they were ok. We put them in out tipi for the night and then after a good bfast we pushed hard and rowed out the last 20 miles with 2 of them on our rafts and the third paddling their canoe.
They had to leave lots of gear on the river, including their moose and a couple of the rifles that were in the canoe. They are planning to try to recover it this weekend, along with trying to figure out how to pull a 90 hp outboard and boat remains from a log jam.
if anyone found any of their gear floating down their river, they would greatly appreciate it.
This was their first time on this river.
Lots of lessons to be learned here, but I'm not gonna list them.
We were the last camp in the river, if we weren't there this might have ended differently.
They lost a lot of gear, a boat, and likely a motor. But that can all be replaced.
I came out on the evening of the 14th. That morning we gave a ride to 2 guys that were walking out of zone 2 right before the end of the mountains, trying to get to Circle Hot Springs. There had been 5 of them but 3 were picked up 2 days prior by thier pilot. These two didn't want to wait 2 more days. I have no idea how they thought they were going to cross Birch Creek. They asked us to drop them off on the other side about 3 miles down river. Last we saw of them.
Those guys hiked out safe and sound and were back in Fairbanks that night. Covered well over 30 miles cross country in two days getting out of Zone 2. I was keeping tabs on them via Delorme.
Originally Posted by Casper50
Pretty sure the plan to cross Birch was to hitch a ride. Thanks for giving them a hand when they needed it.
Kudos to all for lending a hand. I'm sure their families are very grateful.