People in the tiny Island community of Diomede — the one where you actually can see Russia from your house — are stuck.
Roughly four months ago the weekly helicopter service that brings mail to the village of about 130 people stopped flying passengers to nearby Wales and Nome, a councilman said. There's no other way to fly in or out of Diomede this time of year, and boating nearly 30 miles across the sea to Wales, the nearest village, can be perilous in poor weather.
"A lot of people have been canceling all their appointments in the (Nome) hospital," Diomede resident Thomas Soolook said Sunday, in a phone interview from the town laundry building.
The passenger flights stopped when Oregon-based Evergreen International Aviation had to switch to a different chopper for its Diomede flights.
"Their aircraft is down for annual inspection and they discovered some major problems with it," said Carol Piscoya, president of the Norton Sound Health Corp.
That was in mid-July, said City Councilman Andrew Milligrock, around the same time he went to Nome for a meeting. It took a month to catch a boat back to town, he said.
Sen. Mark Begich, D-Alaska, wrote a letter to Gov. Sean Parnell on Wednesday saying Diomede is locked in a "transportation crisis" and suggesting the state and federal governments split the cost of subsidized passenger flights to the village. Meantime, the head of the regional health corporation says help is on the way for patients.
To read the complete article, visit www.adn.com.