JUNEAU (AP) -- A stranded hunter stepped from a rain-swept ledge near Juneau into a hovering rescue helicopter as darkness approached Sunday afternoon.
Shane Lesher, 23, of Juneau, had become separated from his hunting partner, Adam Hubbard, 23, and found himself on a wet, rocky face about 1,800 feet up Mount Anderson near the Eaglecrest Ski Area.
''He could not go up. He could not go down,'' said Scott Chehock of Capital City Fire & Rescue. Hubbard flagged down a motorist, who called police at about 2:30 p.m.
A Temsco helicopter dropped rescuers Tim Arness of Juneau Mountain Rescue and Al Treacy of Capital City Fire & Rescue on a small ledge about 300 feet above Lesher at about 5 p.m.
Arness lowered Treacy on a rope to Lesher's elevation. But a rain squall moved in and reduced pilot Deron Hehr's view.
Rescuers dropped gear for an overnight stay, but the weather soon cleared, and Hehr raced to lift the three men off the mountain before dark.
Hehr placed the helicopter toe in to the mountain and Arness climbed in and was taken to safety. The craft returned for Lesher and then Treacy, using the same toe-in method, Chehock said.
''We closed the rescue down just as it got dark, so it was kind of close,'' Chehock said. He credited Hehr with using ''extreme skill to pull these guys off.''
Hehr said the steep terrain was the challenge.
''It was a little difficult to get into where they were at. You couldn't really make a true landing,'' Hehr said.
Lesher was wet and cold, but refused further medical attention after warming up in an ambulance.
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