Coast Guard FOL Kotzebue assists 4 on disabled vessel in Kotzebue

Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter file photo by PA1 Kurt Fredrickson

Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter file photo by PA1 Kurt Fredrickson

ANCHORAGE, Alaska – Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crews forward deployed to Kotzebue assisted the rescue of four people Monday aboard a disabled vessel on Imuruk Lagoon near Kotzebue and located two missing people in Point Hope.

A volunteer search and rescue crew from Brevig Mission arrived on scene Monday morning and transported four people from a disabled vessel to Teller after a Coast Guard aircrew located the people and checked their condition.

Watchstanders at the 17th Coast Guard District command center in Juneau received a request for assistance from the Alaska State Troopers at approximately 11:30 a.m. Monday after four people aboard a disabled 18-foot skiff were reported adrift in rough seas near Imuruk Lagoon approximately 155 miles southwest of Kotzebue. It was reported the disabled vessel’s outboard engine caught fire, but the occupants were able to extinguish the fire and rigged a tarp to use as a sail. The four people aboard the skiff beached the vessel on shore on the southside of Windy Cove.

Coast Guard watchstanders requested the launch of the helicopter crew while Troopers deployed a volunteer search and rescue boatcrew from Brevig Mission.

The aircrew from Forward Operating Location Kotzebue landed on the beach and checked on the condition of the four people Monday morning. The aircrew stayed with the four until the volunteer crew from Brevig Mission arrived and transported them safely to Teller. One of the four plans to return to recover the beached vessel.

No medical concerns were reported.

Weather on scene was overcast with 11.5-mph winds and 11.5 miles visibility.

A second MH-60 Jayhawk crew from Forward Operating Location Kotzebue joined a search and located a man and woman approximately 26 miles south of Point Hope at approximately 8 p.m. Monday. The two were in a cabin waiting for North Slope Search and Rescue and ground search teams. Both reportedly departed Point Hope at around 4 a.m. and were expected to reach their destination of Kivalina by approximately 10 p.m.

Weather on scene was 6-mph winds with 11.5 miles visibility.

“The FOL in Kotzebue enhances the Coast Guard’s operability by allowing pre-staged flight crews from Air Station Kodiak to save critical time and resources when responding to missions in the Arctic region,” said Lt. Dan Hendricks, command duty officer for the 17th District. “Crews at the FOL in Kotzebue demonstrated in two separate cases on the same day the multi-mission capability of working with the Troopers to help people in some of the most remote regions of Alaska.”

As part of Coast Guard Arctic Shield 2017, FOL Kotzebue consists of two Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak MH-60 Jayhawk helicopters with supporting air and ground crews based out of the Alaska Army National Guard Hangar in Kotzebue.

2017 marks the 150th anniversary of the Coast Guard’s presence in Alaska. On August 12, 1867 the Revenue Cutter Lincoln transported the first federal officials to Sitka for the formal transfer of proprietorship from Russia on October 18, 1867. Since then, the Coast Guard’s duty to protect the people and waters of Alaska and the Arctic has grown alongside the 49th state’s ever-increasing role in American commerce, Arctic exploration and national sovereignty.

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