Air Station Kodiak rescues four following vessel sinking south of Montague Island

KODIAK, Alaska – A Kodiak-based MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew forward deployed to Cordova rescued four mariners from a liferaft three miles south of Montague Island Wednesday.

Rescued are Thomas Tomrdle, 61, his son Thomas Tomrdle, 29, both of Kenai, James Hielala, 70, of Sterling, and Jeremy Sullivan, 34, of Whittier.

The Coast Guard Sector Anchorage command center received a mayday call from the crew of the Cape Spencer at 9:45 a.m. reporting that their vessel was sinking and they had donned immersion suits and abandoned ship into the liferaft.

The Coast Guard issued an urgent marine information broadcast and diverted the already airborne rescue helicopter from a training flight to respond.

The rescue crew arrived on scene at 10:18 a.m. and safely hoisted all four crewmembers. They were delivered in good condition to the Seward airport about 75 minutes later.

“We were able to get there in about 25 minutes which was fortunate,” said Cmdr. Shawn Tripp, MH-60 Jayhawk pilot. “They called the Coast Guard immediately, they had their survival suits on and the liferaft inflated and everyone got into it. These guys did everything right to be rescued successfully.”

The good Samaritan vessel Tia Rose responded to the UMIB and picked up the Cape Spencer’s empty liferaft and a zodiac that was drifting in the area. The 47-foot fishing vessel has sunk completely. A light diesel sheen was sighted in the area of the sinking.

The vessel’s emergency position indicating radio beacon is transmitting a signal. Rescuers are trying to locate and secure the beacon. The Cape Spencer is Juneau-based longliner.

Weather on scene was reportedly 28 mph winds with two to six foot seas.

Personnel from Coast Guard Sector Anchorage are investigating the cause of the sinking

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