Coast Guard rescues five fishermen near Ketchikan

ANCHORAGE, Alaska – The Coast Guard rescued five fishermen from the 58-foot fishing boat Seafarer after it began taking on water Friday in Southeast Alaska.

The Seafarer, based out of Klawock, sent out a mayday call when they began to abandon ship into an 18-foot skiff at 12:51 a.m. in Clarence Strait approximately seven miles north of Thorn Bay.

A Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk rescue helicopter from Sitka was launched in addition to a Coast Guard 47-foot motor life boat and 25-foot small response boat from Ketchikan. The Coast Guard Cutter Naushon was also diverted to respond.

The MH-60 air crew spotted the skiff and remained on scene, the 47-foot motor life arrived at 2:55 a.m. One of the five Seafarer survivors sustained back injuries and was brought aboard the 47-foot motor life boat to be medevaced.

The helicopter rescue crew safely hoisted and transferred the injured crewman to Ketchikan where emergency medical services were standing by. The 47-foot motor life boat towed the skiff with the remaining four crewmembers to Thorn Bay.

“The fact that they had an EPIRB (Electronic Position Indicating Radio Beacon) and a flashlight made locating them much easier,” said Lt. Cmdr. Eric Carter, MH-60 aircraft commander. “The EPRIB didn’t give us an exact position but the use of the flashlight lead us right to them using our night vision goggles. It just re-emphasizes the benefits of having the right equipment.”

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