Coast Guard aircrew locates missing mariners

Hawaii-Pacific Coast Guard NewsHONOLULU – A Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules aircraft crew from Air Station Barbers Point located the three missing mariners approximately 110 miles southwest of Tarawa, the Republic of Kiribati, at 3:30 p.m., Thursday.

The aircrew located the 16-foot, white and blue skiff on radar within a search area approximately 2,531 miles from Honolulu.

The Hercules crew dropped a canister filled with food, water, a radio and an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon.

A Good Samaritan vessel was vectored in to the skiff’s position to assist with the rescue. The South Korean fishing vessel Universe Kim proceeded to the survivor’s location and brought all three mariners and their skiff aboard.

The mariners were reported to be in good condition and with no medical concerns.

The crew of the Universe Kim is scheduled to rendezvous with a Republic of Kiribati Pacific Patrol Boat RKS TEANOAI (301) and transfer the three mariners, who will then be taken back to Tarawa.

Watchstanders in Coast Guard Joint Rescue Coordination Center Honolulu were notified of the situation on Monday at 6 p.m.

The Hercules aircrew was launched to assist in the search efforts.

The Search and Rescue Optimal Planning System, a software program that calculates environmental factors such as weather, wind speed and direction, current speed and direction and the size of the search object, was used during the rescue.

“The Coast Guard’s use of SAROPS greatly increases our effectiveness,” said Cmdr. Mark Morin, Chief of 14th Coast Guard District Response Management. “It allows us to more precisely focus our search efforts on the most likely of locations based on several pieces of data. A leeway, or drift, test was recently conducted in the area and used to develop drift models for similar vessels to assist us in searches such as these.”

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