Coast Guard Rescues 4 People, 1 Dog from Sinking Fishing Boat

ANCHORAGE, Alaska – The crew of a Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter rescued four people and their dog Tusk aboard the 90-foot fishing vessel Lady Blackie in 30-knot winds and 4-foot seas at about 7:35 a.m. today. The vessel began taking on water in Wide Bay in Shelikof Strait at about 4:45 a.m.

The Coast Guard received an Electronic Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) signal registered to the Lady Blackie out of Homer at about 4:48 a.m. Personnel from the Coast Guard Command Center in Juneau contacted the master, Jason Koontz, via the satellite phone number listed in the EPIRB registry. Koontz reported the vessel was taking on water and the crew could not access dewatering pumps.

The four people on board donned survival suits, deployed the liferaft and at about 6:30 a.m. abandoned ship. They took an additional EPIRB into the raft with them and activated it allowing the rescuers to track their location as they drifted.

At about 7:35 a.m. the helicopter crew located the raft and rescued the four men and Tusk. They arrived in Kodiak at about 8:30 a.m. All are reportedly in good condition.

“It was good seeing them coming,” said Chuck Cress, one of the survivors. “We were only in the raft about 30 minutes.”

According to the pilots the crew of the Lady Blackie did everything right to ensure their rescue. They used their EPRIB which was accurately registered. They donned survival suits and deployed their covered raft. They took another EPIRB with them and activated that. They had strobe lights activated and lit off a parachute flare when the helicopter was about 10 miles out that allowed the helicopter crew to locate them quickly.

“They did a great job,” said Lt. Brian McLaughlin, the aircraft commander aboard the helicopter. “They saved themselves we just gave them a ride.”

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