Coast Guard aircrew assists 3 mariners, 2 dogs in the Gilkey River

An MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station Sitka sits on a snowy riverbank in Alaska, April 25, 2021. Air Station Sitka’s area of responsibility (AOR) encompasses the entire Southeast region of Alaska from Dixon Entrance north to Central Alaska and from the U.S./Canadian border west to the central Gulf of Alaska. U.S. Coast Guard courtesy photo.

An MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station Sitka sits on a snowy riverbank in Alaska, April 25, 2021. U.S. Coast Guard courtesy photo.

KODIAK, Alaska – A Coast Guard Air Station Sitka aircrew assisted three mariners and their two dogs after their vessel ran aground in the Gilkey River, Alaska, late Saturday night.

The MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew located the mariners on a riverbank just north of Juneau at 8:20 a.m., Sunday, and safely transported them to emergency medical service personnel in Juneau for further medical care.

At approximately 6:00 a.m. on Sunday, Coast Guard Sector Juneau Command Center personnel received a call reporting one of the three mariners was ejected from his boat into the water Saturday night, but that the entire crew made it safely to shore.

A good Samaritan, who is a friend of the stranded party, attempted to rescue the mariners in his own vessel but was ultimately unsuccessful.

The stranded mariners reportedly made a fire on shore Saturday night while communications were relayed between the good Samaritan and Sector Juneau personnel.

“I commend the three mariners who used their emergency preparedness skills to build themselves a fire and spent an unplanned night on the bank of the river in 30-degree weather,” said Coast Guard Lt. Tripp (Robert) Haas, Air Station Sitka H-60 helicopter pilot. “The cold Alaskan waters and weather can easily turn deadly, so it’s vitally important to be prepared prior to participating in recreational activities. In the event of an unplanned emergency, it’s important to always have more than one means of communication as well as the necessary cold weather gear and supplies.”

No injuries were reported at the time of the rescue.

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