Calif. Air National Guard rescues injured fishermen hundreds of miles offshore

11th Coast Guard District NewsMOFFETT FEDERAL AIRFIELD, Calif. — California Air National Guardsmen from the 129th Rescue Wing have successfully completed the rescue of two injured fishermen from a Chinese fishing vessel about 700 miles off the coast of Acapulco, Mexico.

The rescue phase of the mission began Sunday when Guardian Angel Pararescuemen parachuted off an MC-130P Combat Shadow aircraft into the Pacific Ocean and boarded an inflatable Zodiac boat. Equipped with medical supplies, the pararescuemen maneuvered the boat next to the Chinese fishing vessel before boarding and providing medical treatment to the injured fishermen.

Two Air National Guard HH-60G Pave Hawk rescue helicopters departed Monday morning en route to the fishing vessel’s location. Aircrews hoisted the pararescuemen and fishermen off the fishing vessel onto the helicopters hovering above. The fishermen were flow to Acapulco on the Pave Hawks and then to the Marine Corps Air Station in Miramar, Calif. on a MC-130P Combat Shadow aircraft. They will receive further medical treatment in San Diego, Calif.

“I could not be prouder of our Airmen’s extraordinary efforts during this mission,” said Col. Steven J. Butow, 129th Rescue Wing Commander. “This mission is a testament to the first response capabilities our wing provides to California and the nation.”

“The long-range rescue capability of the California Air National Guard is an unmatched resource for search and rescue planners,” said Rear Adm. Joseph “Pepe” Castillo, commander of the 11th Coast Guard District in Alameda, which coordinated the mission. “I am always impressed by the skill and dedication of these brave men and women. Their performance on this highly complex operation is no exception. We are fortunate to have them in the search and rescue community.”

The primary mission of the 129th Rescue Wing is to conduct its wartime mission of combat search and rescue anywhere in the world. In addition to its wartime mission, the unit also works closely with the Coast Guard and other civil agencies on state missions; equipped with MC-130P Combat Shadow aircraft and HH-60G Pave Hawk rescue helicopters, the 129th has performed a wide variety of civilian search-and-rescue missions, including responding to distressed persons aboard ships, lost or injured hikers, and medical evacuations. Over the course of its history, the 129th Rescue Wing has rescued close to a thousand distressed people.

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