JUNEAU, Alaska – A Coast Guard Air Station Sitka MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew rescued two people from a fishing vessel taking on water approximately 132 miles northwest of Sitka, Alaska, Tuesday morning.
The helicopter crew hoisted the two men and transported them to Air Station Sitka with no apparent injuries.
Coast Guard Sector Juneau received a mayday call on VHF Channel 16 from a crewmember of fishing vessel Rosalyn stating they were taking on water in the vicinity of Fairweather fishing grounds. Coast Guard 17th District watchstanders granted the launch of the Jayhawk helicopter and a Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak HC-130 airplane for support.
Due to inclement weather and the growing instability of the fishing vessel, the two men abandoned ship wearing survival suits. The rescue swimmer deployed to the water to assist with the hoist.
“The crew had several means to increase their chances of survival; they could not reach their life raft but they knew where their survival suits were, and that gave them a fighting chance,” said Cmdr. Peter Melnick, Air Station Sitka operations officer. “Coast Guard aircrews in Sitka constantly train for this type of mission, and the training paid off with this very challenging rescue. I am glad that the crew of the fishing vessel was equally prepared with their survival suits at the ready.”
Weather on scene was reported as 46 mph winds, 15-foot seas, rain and one mile of visibility.