Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak rescues 4 fishermen from beach near Dutch Harbor, Alaska

KODIAK, Alaska — A Kodiak-based Coast Guard helicopter crews rescued four fishermen from a beach on Unalaska Bay near Dutch Harbor Saturday.

An MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew hoisted the mariners from the beach and delivered them safely to emergency medical services in Dutch Harbor for evaluation Saturday.

Coast Guard watchstanders at the 17th District command center in Juneau received a call from the Chaos crew Friday night, relayed through the Dutch Harbor harbormaster, reporting that the 54-foot longliner had been at anchor and adverse weather had caused the anchor line to break and forced their vessel ashore.

The watchstanders directed the launch of the Jayhawk from Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak and a MH-65 Dolphin from their forward operating location in Cold Bay.

Upon arrival the Dolphin crew was able to confirm the mariners were safe but was unable to safely hoist them due to high winds on scene and the vessel’s proximity to a nearby cliff. The Dolphin crew recovered to Dutch Harbor where the Jayhawk crew met them and both crews waited for better weather and daylight to safely conduct the hoist.

Around midnight the harbormaster received a text message from the Chaos crew stating they had departed the vessel on foot south toward Dutch Harbor for a more sheltered area. They took flares with them to signal the helicopters at first light.

The Jayhawk crew located the mariners just before 9 a.m. safely hoisted them and returned to Dutch Harbor. The Dolphin crew flew alongside the Jayhawk to provide a self-rescue resource and assess the condition of the grounded vessel once the mariners were en route to Dutch Harbor.

“Our primary concern was the safety of the Chaos crew and our aircrews,” said Chief Petty Officer Chris Cole, an operations specialist and search and rescue controller at the 17th District command center. “Winds and the vessel’s proximity to the cliff made hoisting very challenging. As the crew was in no immediate danger our aircrews elected to wait for daylight and improved weather conditions to conduct the hoist and deliver the crew safely to Dutch Harbor.”

Weather conditions at the time of the grounding were 50 mph winds gusting to 83 mph with rain. Conditions improved overnight with winds at 15 mph gusting to 24 mph during the rescue.

Personnel from Marine Safety Detachment Dutch Harbor will work with the owner of the Chaos to assess the Homer-based vessel and conduct any necessary salvage operations. The vessel is reportedly in good condition with approximately 1,000 gallons of diesel aboard.

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