Coast Guard rescues 7 people 65 miles off Costa Rica

Coast Guard Cutter James rescues four people from the 35-foot fishing boat, the Rio Bravo III, that was found sinking approximately 65 miles off Costa Rica, Nov. 3, 2020. The James' crew transferred all four people from the sinking vessel to the Coast Guard cutter, where they were treated for injuries and later transferred to Costa Rican authorities. (U. S. Coast Guard courtesy photo)

Coast Guard Cutter James rescues four people from the 35-foot fishing boat, the Rio Bravo III, that was found sinking approximately 65 miles off Costa Rica, Nov. 3, 2020. The James’ crew transferred all four people from the sinking vessel to the Coast Guard cutter, where they were treated for injuries and later transferred to Costa Rican authorities. (U. S. Coast Guard courtesy photo)

ALAMEDA, Calif. — The Coast Guard rescued seven people Tuesday after two fishing vessels sank due to a storm approximately 65 miles offshore from Costa Rica.

Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre Costa Rica notified the 11th Coast Guard District command center watchstanders at 1:30 a.m. of a 35-foot fishing boat, the Rio Bravo III, taking on water with four people aboard.

Due to inclement weather and distance offshore, Costa Rica requested assistance to rescue the people aboard the Rio Bravo III.

Watchstanders identified the Coast Guard Cutter James as the nearest asset, which was approximately 160 miles away from the Rio Bravo III’s reported location. James’ crew navigated the 160 miles through 25 knot winds, 10-foot seas and low visibility to arrive in the vicinity at approximately 7:30 a.m. and located all four people on the stern of the mostly submerged boat.

The James crew transferred all four people from the vessel to the Coast Guard cutter where the individuals were assessed by the cutter’s health services technician with one survivor reportedly having a foot injury that required further medical treatment.

After rescuing the four individuals from the Rio Bravo III, Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre Panama reported a second capsized 26-foot fishing boat with three people aboard located 35 miles away. The James crew diverted to the location and at approximately 10:30 a.m. located and rescued three additional survivors.

“Due to the impressive capability of the national security cutter and expertise of the crew, James stood ready to respond, even in the most adverse conditions,” said Capt. Jeffrey Randall, James’ commanding officer. “Persistent squalls, reduced visibility and choppy seas complicated the task of locating mariners adrift or clinging to the remnants of their sinking vessel. James crew demonstrated proficiency, versatility and determination in rescuing our fellow mariners despite adverse conditions on scene.”

The survivors were transferred to the Costa Rican Coast Guard Tuesday at approximately 6 p.m.

“The rescue of the Costa Rican fishermen is a fantastic example of international SAR coordination at its finest and demonstrates the importance of building strong relationships with our international SAR partners,” said Douglas Samp, an 11th Coast Guard District search and rescue mission coordinator. “These SAR survivors are going to have Christmas with their families because of the cooperation, training and dedication of all involved.”

The Coast Guard Cutter James is a 418-foot National Security Cutter home-ported in Charleston, South Carolina.

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