Good Samaritans Rescue Three From Water Near Homer

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (D17 Public Affairs) – Good Samaritans on the motor vessel Misty, rescued three men from the water five miles west of Anchor Point near Homer today.

The Alaska State Troopers received a call for help from three people aboard a 16-foot aluminum skiff taking on water. The winds were reported at 10 knots with seas three to four feet. The Coast Guard received notification from the Alaska State Troopers at 1:30 p.m. and immediately deployed aircraft and vessels to assist.

A Coast Guard C-130 Hercules aircraft and a MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter from Air Station Kodiak were launched. The Coast Guard Cutter Roanoke Island, a 110-foot patrol boat, from Homer was diverted as well as an Alaska State Trooper helicopter. The Homer-based Coast Guard Auxiliary unit was also dispatched.

The three men, ages: 66, 47 and 21, were not wearing life jackets when rescued and stated they did not have any life jackets on board. The have returned to Homer aboard the Misty and were released to waiting emergency medical services. They are reportedly in good condition; one man is reported to have suffered mildly hypothermia. The home towns of the individuals are unknown.

Leaving port in any type of vessel without a lifejacket is extremely unwise, especially in Alaska’s unforgiving and ever changing climate.

It is cold water shock not hypothermia that is the danger. “The initial cold shock provokes an immediate gasp reflex of up to two to three quarts of air, or water if your head is submerged,” said Cmdr. Steve Pearson, Coast Guard Sector Anchorage chief of response. “If you inhale water, it’s unlikely you will come to the surface unless you are wearing a life jacket. These three men are extremely fortunate given the circumstances of their situation.”

Ninety-five percent of coastal paddlers wear life jackets, but only about six percent of adults in open power boats or skiffs less than 26 feet do so.

The Coast Guard requires all boaters to have lifejackets aboard their vessel, one for each person. Children under the age of 13 must be wearing their lifejacket at all time while boating in Alaskan waters.

The Coast Guard Auxiliary offers free vessel safety checks and boating safety courses to help you be prepared and safe on the water. To schedule a free vessel safety check or to attend classes please visit the following link for more information http://a170.uscgaux.info/index.htm.

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