Coast Guard responding to report of 3 fishermen abandoning ship near Big Island, Hawaii

Alex HaleyHONOLULU — The Coast Guard is responding to a report of three fishermen abandoning ship from the 41-foot fishing vessel Vicious Cycle approximately 161 miles southwest of Kona, Hawai’i, Friday.

The Coast Guard Cutter Alex Haley (WMEC 39), homeported in Kodiak, Alaska, was diverted from their course back to Alaska and is currently en route to the scene along with an MH-60R helicopter crew from Navy Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron Thirty-Seven in Kaneohe Bay, Oahu, and the good Samaritan crew of the fishing vessel Princess K.

An urgent marine information broadcast has been issued alerting mariners in the area to the situation.

Watchstanders at the Joint Rescue Coordination Center in Honolulu received an emergency positioning indicating radio beacon alert at 7:53 p.m., notifying them of the distress situation.

An HC-130 Hercules aircrew from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point was immediately launched to the scene. The aircrew located the fishermen in a life raft after they spotted a the crew using a dim flashing light and flares to signal them.

An attempt to deploy a radio was unsuccessful due to poor visibility and weather. The Hercules crew returned to base to refuel and will  return to the scene.

‘It’s important to point out that these men were located fairly quickly due to their use of an EPIRB and also having it properly registered,” said Mike Cobb, a duty watchstander at the Coast Guard 14th District. “Since it was properly registered we were able to identify the vessel, get in touch with the owner and confirm right away that they were fishing in that area and that he was unable to get in touch with them.”

Weather conditions are reportedly winds at 28 mph with seas up to 10 feet.

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