ANCHORAGE, Alaska – A Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew rescued five fishermen from a beach on Sitkinak Island after their fishing vessel started taking on water Thursday morning.
The five fishermen donned their survival suits and abandoned their 58-foot fishing vessel, the Kodiak Isle, by entering their life raft which then drifted ashore. The helicopter crew arrived on scene at 2 a.m., spotted a flare from the fishermen, and safely hoisted the five men who were transferred to Kodiak with no reported injuries.
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The case began at approximately 12:07 a.m. when watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Anchorage received a report from the fisherman stating their vessel had hit a rock and was taking on water. The watchstanders immediately issued an urgent marine information broadcast and directed the launch of the helicopter crew a short time later.
“The fishermen took the proper steps to help ensure their safety during this emergency situation,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Lauren Brady, watchstander, Coast Guard Sector Anchorage. “They immediately alerted us that they had an emergency and needed help. They then put on survival suits and entered their life raft with flares and an emergency location beacon, which allowed the helicopter crew to quickly locate them.”
The Kodiak Isle was reportedly carrying approximately 1,000 gallons of diesel fuel at the time of the incident. The Coast Guard plans to conduct a flyover of the area Thursday, to attempt to locate the vessel and assess any pollution concerns. The vessel was reported to still be afloat at 2:30 a.m. when the rescue crew departed the scene with the survivors.
The weather, as reported by a nearby weather buoy, at the time of the incident was 10 to 20 mph winds with 10-foot seas. The Coast Guard is investigating the cause of the incident.
The Coast Guard reminds all commercial fishermen that operate or fish more than three miles from the territorial sea baseline to complete a Coast Guard dockside safety exam before they become manditory on Oct. 16, 2012.
Fishermen should contact the following Coast Guard Marine Safety Offices to arrange a safety exam.