Coast Guard rescues 4 just before vessel sinks

The crew of the fishing vessel Kupreanof abandon ship into a liferaft in the Gulf of Alaska near Lituya Bay, Alaska, June 10, 2015. Once in the liferaft, the four crew members were hoisted into a Coast Guard Air Station Sitka MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter and transported safely to Sitka. U.S. Coast Guard photo from video by Air Station Sitka.

The crew of the fishing vessel Kupreanof abandon ship into a liferaft in the Gulf of Alaska near Lituya Bay, Alaska.

JUNEAU, Alaska — A Coast Guard Air Station Sitka aircrew rescued four men from a life raft in Fairweather Grounds between Cross Sound and Yakutat Bay, Wednesday morning.

The aircrew hoisted the men and transported them safely to emergency medical services at Air Station Sitka.

Coast Guard Sector Juneau watchstanders received a mayday call from the captain of the 73-foot fishing vessel Kupreanof homeported in Petersburg, reporting that the vessel was taking on water. Watchstanders directed the launch of an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter from Air Station Sitka.

The aircrew arrived on scene as the Kupreanof crewmembers began entering their life raft. Once the crewmembers were in the life raft, the aircrew began hoisting the men into the helicopter.

“The crew of the Kupreanof did the right thing by calling for help, putting on their immersion suits and safely abandoning the ship,” said Lt. Ben Neal, a pilot at Air Station Sitka. “Emergencies can occur at any time and having the right safety equipment is critical when operating in Alaska’s extreme environment.”

All four mariners were reported in good condition. Coast Guard personnel will attempt to determine the cause of the sinking.

“As of Oct. 15, 2015, commercial fishing vessel safety exams will be mandatory for vessels operating beyond three nautical miles offshore,” says Scott Giard, command duty officer, Sector Juneau. “This case is a perfect example of why exams are crucial for the safety of fishermen.”

Weather on scene was 10-mph winds and 7-foot seas.


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