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ANCHORAGE, Alaska – The Coast Guard rescued three fishermen from the northwest side of Umnak Island, one island west of Unalaska Island, after their 58-foot fishing vessel went aground there at 11:46 p.m. Sunday.
A Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew forward deployed to St. Paul Island rescued the three crewmembers at 3:19 a.m. and safely delivered them to Unalaska with no reported medical issues or injuries.
Coast Guard Communications Station Kodiak received a radio call for help from the crew of the Seattle-based fishing vessel Neptune 1 at 11:21 p.m. stating that their fishing vessel was disabled and drifting toward the island.
After receiving the distress call, Coast Guard District 17 Command Center watshstanders immediately directed the launch of the St. Paul-deployed helicopter crew and an HC-130 Hercules airplane crew from Kodiak. The Coast Guard Cutter Alex Haley crew was also diverted from their patrol near Dutch Harbor.
The fishing vessel Alaska Enterprise crew, 25 miles away from the Neptune 1, also responded to assist the rescue effort and helped by relaying essential information from the Neptune 1 crew to the rescue crews. The Alaska Enterprise crew also used their floodlights to help guide the rescue helicopter crew to the stranded fishermen.
The Neptune 1 crew reported that an engine failure had caused them to drift ashore. The crew donned their survival suites and swam to shore since they did not feel safe aboard the grounded fishing vessel. They also activated their emergency position indicating radio beacon to help rescue crews quickly locate their location.
“The crew of the Neptune 1 took all the right steps to ensure their successful rescue, including the activation of their emergency beacon,” said Raymond Dwyer, District 17 Command Duty Officer. “The communications and lighting assistance of the Alaskan Enterprise was also instrumental in the positive outcome of this case.”
The vessel is reported as high and dry on the beach resting on its right side. An unknown amount of fuel is on board and Coast Guard response crews will be working with the vessel owner to help minimize any potential environmental impact from the grounding. No pollution has been reported at this time.
Weather was reported as snowing with winds of 25-40 mph and 12-15 foot seas.