Coast Guard rescues five from sinking boat near Whitney Island, Alaska

USCG file photo

KODIAK, Alaska – A Sitka-based Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk rescue helicopter crew rescued five people from the sinking 34-foot fishing vessel Sandy M near Whitney Island north of Petersburg Saturday morning.

Coast Guard Sector Juneau command center watchstanders received a radio call from the Sandy M, homeported in Petersburg, reporting they were taking on water and were going to abandon ship at approximately 10 a.m.

The rescue helicopter crew was diverted from a community relations mission to respond to the sinking vessel.

The helicopter crew arrived on scene at about 10:40 a.m. and found three crewmembers of the Sandy M in a liferaft and two in the water. The rescue crew safely hoisted all five crewmembers and flew them to Sitka where emergency medical services were waiting.

The Coast Guard Cutter Liberty, 110-foot patrol boat homeported in Juneau, was diverted to the scene to assess potential pollution and navigational hazard.

Weather at the time of the rescue was reportedly 40 mph winds with 6 to 8 foot seas.

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