ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) – A critically injured pilot was lifted from an airplane that crashed along the Susitna River and flown to an Anchorage hospital.

The Anchorage Daily News reports Alaska Air National Guard pararescuers lowered from an HH60 Pave Hawk helicopter used crash axes and pry tools to cut into the Piper PA-12 aircraft.

The crash occurred sometime before 5 p.m. Thursday on a sandbar near Mile 79 Parks Highway. Another pilot called in the crash.

The injured pilot communicated sporadically with rescue officials through a cellphone. His name was not released.

176th Wing spokesman David Bedard says the helicopter hovered about 120 feet (37 meters) above the wreckage to reduce air turbulence. Rescuers fitted the pilot with a cervical collar and hoisted him into the helicopter.

Other agencies also responded.

Information from: Anchorage Daily News,