A Nome search-and-rescue ground team of about 10 personnel were also en route to the scene via snow machines when the National Guard Black Hawk flew past them.
"We flew over the Nome SAR team about five miles out, and when we arrived, two other were already there with the mushers, who had been able to extricate themselves from the water," said Claeys.
"They were inside of sleeping bags," said Claeys of the three mushers. "The medics got them on oxygen and warmed up inside, and the dog handlers and some of Nome rescue stayed with the dogs and had plans to get them back to Nome," which Claeys said was about 30 miles along the trail.
"Our Nome facility commander, 1st Lt. Jared Scheler, had just met with the Norton Sound Regional Hospital aeromed last week to prepare coordination for potential SAR missions like this," said Claeys. "Today, the paperwork was in place, the EMTs were ready to go, and the [dog] handlers showed up in minutes, and when you're wet and freezing, minutes matter."