Coast Guard rescues French kayaker from Bering Sea

ANCHORAGE, Alaska – A Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter and crew rescued a French kayaker from the northern Bering Sea and delivered him in good condition to emergency medical personnel in Nome at about 5 p.m. Saturday.

The crew from Air Station Kodiak hoisted Jean Gabriel Chelala, 28, from his kayak 40 miles north of St. Lawrence Island at about 4:15 p.m.

Chelala was reportedly attempting to circumnavigate the world under his own power. He departed Emmonak June 27 for Gambell in a specially designed kayak. Chelala reportedly missed Gambell and contacted Alaska State Troopers for assistance Saturday morning. Troopers relayed the request for assistance to the Coast Guard.

According to Lt. Chris Carter, the aircraft commander of the Jayhawk, the case was very smooth. The helicopter crew did not need to deploy the rescue swimmer. They crew lowered the rescue basket down to the kayak and Chelala climbed in. He was cold and mildly hypothermic but otherwise okay and very appreciative.

Nome is approximately 539 miles northeast of Anchorage. On scene weather was reportedly winds from the south at 23 mph with seas to six feet.

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