Good Samaritan Assists Coast Guard in Rescuing Fishing Vessel Master

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — The Coast Guard and the fishing vessel Heritage rescued the master of the fishing vessel Pacific Lady shortly after 1 a.m. this morning 70 miles southwest of Kodiak Island in Shelikof Strait.

The Coast Guard received an Electronic Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) signal registered to the 42-foot Pacific Lady out of Kodiak at about 9:30 p.m. Personnel from the Coast Guard Command Center in Juneau contacted the wife of the master, Alan Ryden, and discovered he was piloting the vessel from Sand Point to Kodiak and was the only person on board.

The Coast Guard launched a C-130 and an HH-60 Jayhawk helicopter from Kodiak. The Coast Guard Cutter Hickory was diverted from an Aids to Navigation mission about 35 miles away from the scene.

The C-130 arrived on scene first. “We arrived on scene and it was so dark we couldn’t see anything,” said Lt. Steve McKechnie, aircraft commander of the C-130. “We located the flashing strobe and lit off a flare. We could still see the strobe on his gumby suit so we dropped a life raft. The weather was 45-knot winds gusting to 60, 16-foot seas and freezing spray.”

The fishing vessel Heritage responded to the UMIB. “They were 11 miles away when we dropped the life raft so we worked with the Heritage to get them on scene. We had to depart due to fuel and the HH-60 took our place,” said McKechnie.

The HH-60 began a search for Ryden and during that time the Heritage located two empty life rafts from the Pacific Lady and then located Ryden in the third life raft, the one dropped by the C-130.

“The Heritage did awesome,” said McKechnie. “After they took the guy on board they spoke with the swimmer on the 60 and determined he was in good condition.”

The Heritage is currently en route to Kodiak with an estimated arrival time of 1 a.m. Sunday. In the dark conditions the Pacific Lady was not sighted. The Coast Guard Marine Safety Detachment in Kodiak will investigate the incident.

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