3 fishermen rescued after vessel sinks, distress beacon activated

14th Coast Guard District News

APRA HARBOR, Guam – Three fishermen whose vessel sank are safe after they activated a distress beacon which prompted a rescue by Coast Guard and Navy personnel 17 miles northwest of Saipan Sunday.

Coast Guard Sector Guam command center watchstanders received a distress alert from the fishermen’s Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon at approximately 3:30 a.m. Sunday and immediately requested air support from the Navy.

Sector Guam command center personnel provided the helicopter air crew with the location of the EPIRB signal throughout the search.

At approximately 6:50 a.m. the helicopter aircrew spotted a large white cooler and small rigid foam raft with three fishermen inside being tossed by 10-foot seas.  There was no sign of their fishing vessel.  The aircrew deployed a rescue swimmer to assess their condition and hoist the three fishermen to safety.

One of the survivors described the sinking as, “almost occurring in an instant. The boat was moving forward, began taking on water and was just gone from right under us.”

No injuries were reported. The Coast Guard is conducting an investigation.

The Coast Guard reminds mariners that a properly registered 406MHz EPIRB can save your life.  Registration information can be very helpful in confirming that a distress situation exists, and in arranging appropriate rescue efforts. If the EPIRB is properly registered, the Coast Guard will be able to use the registration information to immediately begin action on the case. If the EPIRB is unregistered, a distress alert may take as much as two hours longer to reach the Coast Guard over the international satellite system.

To confirm it is proper EPRIB registration visit http://www.beaconregistration.noaa.gov/. There is no charge for this service.

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