Alaska Firefighters Await Word On Missing Former Co-Worker

ANCHORAGE --

Firefighters in Dover are hoping and praying as rescuers search for a former co-worker in Alaska.

John Stumpff, 47, a former firefighter in Dover, was one of four people on board a medical helicopter that disappeared in Alaska earlier this week.

The Medevac helicopter vanished from radar Monday evening while it was transporting a patient to an Anchorage hospital.

Dover Fire Chief Perry Plummer and Assistant Chief Richard Driscoll both served with Stumpff during his nearly 13 years on the force. Stumpff was instrumental in setting up Dover's paramedic program.

"John was firefighter of the year," Plummer said. "He was a very good firefighter. He was one of those firefighters who you saw coming down the street to fight a fire, you were happy as an officer he was there."

The area where crews are searching for the helicopter covers hundreds of square miles over land and water. While conditions are harsh, Driscoll said his friend is a survivor

"John's idea of a good time was to grab a backpack and head off into the back country of Alaska for two weeks and say that was a pretty good time. So, if anyone could survive, it's John," Driscoll said.

Bad weather has limited the area where aircraft can search. But numerous resources are being brought in, including the Coast Guard, Alaska Air National Guard and volunteers.

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