Coast Guard rescues five fishermen from grounded Kodiak-based vessel

USCG file photo

KODIAK, Alaska – A Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew rescued five fishermen from the Kodiak-based 68-foot fishing vessel Midnite Sun which ran aground 36 miles northwest of Kodiak Friday morning.

Francisco Jackson, 50, Clint Parks, 45, Michael Hintz, 28, William Kingery, 21, all Kodiak residents and Levi Russell, 20, residence unknown, were on board when their vessel grounded.

The Sea Warrior crew reported hearing the initial mayday call via marine VHF radio channel one, which is not monitored by the Coast Guard, and relayed the call to the Coast Guard on channel 16 at 12:13 a.m. reporting the Midnite Sun had run aground on Tanaak Cape.

“The mayday relayed from the crew of the Sea Warrior was invaluable,” said Lt. Michael Anderson, Sector Anchorage command center supervisor. “Without the help of the Sea Warrior we may never had know that the crew of the Midnite Sun was in need of rescue. The Sea Warrior did a outstanding job.”

The helicopter crew was launched at 1:17 a.m., arrived on scene at 1:38 a.m. and flew the fishermen to Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak with no injuries reported.

The Midnight Sun reportedly has 6,000 gallons of diesel fuel on board. A Coast Guard helicopter with inspectors from Marine Safety Detachment Kodiak is scheduled to conduct an overflight this morning to assess the condition of the vessel and potential environmental impact.

The Coast Guard and the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation are working with the owner of the vessel to address a potential environmental response and salvage operation.

The weather at the time of the incident was reported as 52 mph winds with 18 to 20 foot seas.

Marine VHF radio channel 16 is the universal hail and distress frequency to contact the Coast Guard in an emergency.

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