3 fishermen safe following joint rescue by Coast Guard, Navy southwest of Kona, Hawaii

Alex HaleyHONOLULU — Three fishermen are safe following a joint rescue by the Coast Guard and Navy approximately 161 miles southwest of Kona, Hawai’i, Friday.

An MH-60R helicopter aircrew from the U.S. Navy Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron Thirty-Seven in Kaneohe Bay, Oahu, successfully hoisted all three men into the helicopter at 2:47 a.m., and transported them to Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point on Oahu at 4:16 a.m.

“These men were located and rescued fairly quickly due to their use of an emergency positioning indicating radio beacon and also having it properly registered,” said Mike Cobb, a duty watchstander at the Coast Guard 14th District. “Because it was properly registered we were able to identify the vessel, get in touch with the owner and confirm right away that they were fishing in that area and that he was unable to get in touch with them.

The men were treated for mild hypothermia by local emergency medical services personnel and were taken to the Queen’s Medical Center – West Oahu.

The men abandoned ship into a life raft after their 41-foot fishing vessel Vicious Cycle began taking on water. It is not immediately known what caused the vessel to take on water. The Coast Guard will investigate the cause of the sinking.

Watchstanders at the Joint Rescue Coordination Center in Honolulu received an EPIRB alert at 7:53 p.m., Thursday, notifying them of the distress situation.

An HC-130 Hercules aircrew was immediately launched to the scene. They located the fishermen in a life raft after they spotted the crew using a dim flashing light and flares to signal them. An attempt to deploy a radio was unsuccessful due to poor visibility and weather.

The Coast Guard Cutter Alex Haley (WMEC 39), homeported in Kodiak, Alaska, was diverted from their course back to Alaska to the scene along with the helicopter crew from Navy HMS-37 and the good Samaritan crew of the fishing vessel Princess K.

An urgent marine information broadcast was issued alerting mariners in the area to the situation. Once the helicopter arrived on scene and hoisted the men the surface assets were released from the case.

Weather conditions were reported as winds at 28 mph with seas up to 10 feet.

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