Coast Guard Station Valdez rescues 2 men near Busby Island, Prince William Sound, Alaska

A Coast Guard 45-foot Response Boat-Medium

Coast Guard Station Valdez 45-Foot Response Boat-Medium File Photo

KODIAK, Alaska – A Coast Guard Station Valdez Response Boat-Medium boat crew rescued two men from the 21-foot pleasure cruiser Gaillea after it ran aground approximately six miles off Busby Island, in Prince William Sound, Alaska, Saturday morning.

A Station Valdez RB-M boat crew and several good Samaritan vessels coordinated efforts to transfer both men to awaiting emergency medical services personnel in Valdez for further care. One man was reported to have sustained injuries, and the other man was reported to be in good condition.

Coast Guard Sector Anchorage command center watchstanders received a mayday broadcast via VHF-FM Channel 16 from a 69-year-old man aboard the Gaillea reporting that the vessel had run aground near Busby Island and a 75-year-old man had fallen overboard. It was reported that he was able to swim to a rock on the shoreline, but was in need of further assistance.

In response to a flare shot from the Gaillea, several good Samaritan vessels responded to assist. The fishing vessel Fierce Leader crew arrived on scene, recovered the man aboard the Gaillea, and established a vessel tow with the Gaillea. Due to shoreline conditions, it was reported that they were unable to get close enough to recover the 75-year-old man on the shore.

Sector Anchorage command center watchstanders directed the launch of a Station Valdez RB-M boat crew and requested an Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter aircrew, forward deployed to Coast Guard Forward Operating Location Cordova, to respond.

The Jayhawk aircrew stood by ready to assist on scene while the good Samaritan vessel Mary J crew used a skiff to recover the man from the shoreline. The Station Valdez boat crew arrived on scene with emergency medical services personnel aboard to evaluate the 75-year-old man for further transport to Valdez for higher medical care.

The fishing vessel Fierce Leader established a tow with the Gaillea and transported it back to Valdez. There were no reported signs of pollution.

“Being able to assist and respond with immediacy is key,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class Joseph Echols, a Station Valdez machinery technician. “The coordination between the Coast Guard and the good Samaritan vessels to rescue these people is a tribute to the working relationship we’ve built within the Alaskan communities to let them know we are here to assist at a moment’s notice.”

Weather on scene was 9 mph winds, 9 miles visibility, 1-2 foot seas, and a water temperature of 55 degrees.

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