Coast Guard recovers two men from the sea off of Crescent City, Calif.

MCKINLEYVILLE, Calif. – The U.S. Coast Guard hoisted two fishermen from the water after they were forced to abandon ship when it started taking on water 22 miles west of Crescent City, Calif., Thursday afternoon.

The Coast Guard dispatched an MH-65C Dolphin helicopter from Air Station Humboldt Bay, a 47-foot motor lifeboat from Station Chetco River, and a 47-foot motor lifeboat from Station Humboldt Bay to the fishing vessel Flamingo to assist the mariners.

Coast Guard Group North Bend, Ore., received a distress call from the fishing vessel Flamingo at 1:52 p.m. The vessel’s crew had reported taking on water due to damage from 30-foot waves that had broken through the windows of the pilothouse and reported a fire aboard the vessel. Coast Guard units were quickly dispatched, and the helicopter arrived overhead the Flamingo at 2:35 p.m.

The Flamingo had a crew of two men on board. The master and the deck hand had both donned survival suits and were working to dewater the vessel when the helicopter arrived. The master of the vessel then elected to abandon ship so that the Coast Guard helicopter could hoist them into the aircraft. The master of the vessel put the boat on autopilot and both men jumped off of the stern of the boat. The helicopter lowered a rescue swimmer into the water where he swam through the 30-foot waves and took both men in tow.

The master of the vessel became immediately unresponsive after he jumped into the water and the rescue swimmer placed him in the rescue basket to be hoisted into the helicopter first. After the master of the vessel was brought into the helicopter cabin, the flight mechanic recovered the rescue swimmer and deck hand from the water.

The crew of the helicopter initiated CPR on the master of the vessel while the aircraft proceeded to Crescent City Airport. The master remained unresponsive as the crew performed CPR until he was transferred to a waiting ambulance at Crescent City Airport.

After refueling, the aircraft returned to Air Station Humboldt Bay at Arcata Airport.

The Coast Guard recommends that all mariners keep a vigilant watch on the weather conditions as they can rapidly deteriorate in the unpredictable waters of the Northern California and Oregon coastlines.

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