Coast Guard rescue swimmers being honored for heroic rescue in Alaska

MIAMI – Two Coast Guard rescue swimmers will be honored Friday by Broward Navy Days at the Winterfest Grand Marshal Reception being held at Seminole Hard Rock Live for their part in an amazing rescue that took place 127 miles west of Dutch Harbor, Alaska, March 23.

Petty Officer 2nd Class O’Brien Hollow and Petty Officer 3rd Class Abram Heller battled snow squalls, 30-knot winds and the 34-degree Bering Sea to help save 23 of 47 people aboard the sinking 192-foot catcher-processor Alaska Ranger.

Hollow braved the frigid water and 15-foot seas to successfully locate and rescue 14 hypothermic and one unconscious mariner. Throughout the rescue, Hollow displayed unprecedented stamina by continously providing medical attention in the helicopter to the mariners making sure they remained alert and conscious before being transferred the Coast Guard Cutter Munro.

Arriving on a second helicopter, Heller immediately deployed into the unforgiving Bering Sea and recovered three mariners. He located two additional mariners and calmly disentangled them from the vessel’s fishing gear requiring him to fully submerge in the icy water. With the helicopter running dangerously low on fuel, Heller volunteered to remain on scene and gathered the lethargic mariners into a life raft. Hypothermic and fatigued, Heller spent the next 40 minutes keeping the mariners awake and conscious before a helicopter returned to transport them to safety.

Petty Officer’s Hollow and Heller, as well as six other aircrew members from Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak, Alaska, were awarded the prestigious Coast Guard Air Medal for their courage, judgment and actions during the Alaska Ranger case.

The cutter Munro is a 378-foot high-endurance cutter homeported in Alameda, Calif.

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