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Coast Guard & Samaritan crew assist F/V Masonic in distress near Fairweather Ground

Date: Jan. 30, 2013
District 17 Public Affairs Detachment Kodiak

JUNEAU, Alaska — Coast Guard crews and a good Samaritan assisted the crew of a 70-foot fishing vessel taking on water approximately five miles west of Fairweather Ground Wednesday.

An Air Station Sitka MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter and crew successfully delivered dewatering pumps to the four people aboard the fishing vessel Masonic. The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Liberty is en route to meet the vessel in Cross Sound to further assist the vessel to port in Honnah, with an estimated time of arrival of Thursday morning.

Sector Juneau watchstanders received the report this afternoon from the Masonic crew reporting that they were taking on water and may require an extra pump to keep up with flooding. This prompted the watchstanders to launch an Air Station Sitka helicopter crew and the Liberty to respond.

The crew of the good Samaritan vessel Myra arrived on scene and assisted the crew of the Masonic until the Masonic was able to begin began dewatering by their own means. The helicopter crew arrived on scene, delivering two more dewatering pumps and a rescue swimmer to assist in dewatering efforts.

The MH-60 crew remained on scene until the flooding was under control before retrieving the rescue swimmer and returning to Sitka. The Myra continued on their voyage and the Masonic is making way to protected waters in Cross Sound to identify source of flooding.

The Coast Guard Cutter Liberty and crew will rendezvous with the Masonic this evening to further escort them to Hoonah.

“In these dangerous waters, preparedness and early actions from the crew and nearby good Samaritan vessels play a key role in ensuring the safety of the Alaskan boating community,” said Lt. Ryan Erickson of Sector Juneau. “Due to the vast areas our Coast Guard crews are required to cover, it is vital that all mariners ensure their vessels are inspected and properly outfitted before setting sail.”

The weather on scene at the time of the incident was reportedly 11-foot seas and 25 mph gusting 35 mph. The reported windchill was 26 degrees.

The Masonic and the Myra are both homeported in Sitka, Alaska.