ANCHORAGE, Alaska — The Coast Guard rescued four men who were stranded after their boat sank approximately 13 miles northwest of Cordova, Thursday.
Coast Guard Sector Anchorage watchstanders received a mayday call on marine VHF radio channel 16 at 12:04 p.m. The watchstanders attempted to hail the distressed vessel over the radio, but were unable to reach the caller.
The men, who were returning from a hunting trip on their 19-foot aluminum boat, were navigating through inclement weather and 8 foot seas when their reportedly began taking on water. They quickly became overwhelmed by the weather and sea conditions and were unable to keep the boat afloat and made a distress call to the Coast Guard before abandoning their vessel and taking their dinghy to shore.
Sector Anchorage watchstanders issued an urgent marine information broadcast to the public requesting any information about the distress call. The Cordova Harbormaster also heard the call and contacted sector Anchorage which allowed the Coast Guard to narrow their search parameters.
Sector Anchorage launched a Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak-based MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from the Coast Guard forward operating location in Cordova and diverted the Coast Guard Cutter Long Island to search for the boaters. The helicopter crew located the four individuals on the shoreline at 3:14 p.m., 3 miles east of Gravina Point off Orca Inlet and hoisted them off the beach.
The boaters were transported to the Cordova Community Hospital and transferred to medical personnel for evaluation.
“This kind of situation could happen to anyone,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Lauren Brady, Sector Anchorage watchstander. “That’s why we really try to stress boater safety and encourage boaters to check the weather and think twice about heading out in poor conditions. We’re thankful that the Cordova harbormaster also heard the call so we could narrow down their location and get assistance to them as soon as possible.”
Coast Guard helicopter crews are forward deployed to Cordova during the busy summer boating season in Prince William Sound. By strategically locating helicopter crews to places such as Cordova, Barrow, Cold Bay and St. Paul, the Coast Guard increases it seasonal presence in an area, and maximizes the effective response time of the rescue crews.