Kayakers rescued at Bellingham Bay

PORT ANGELES, Wash. – Two kayakers were rescued from eight-foot swells and 50-60 knot winds in Bellingham Bay near Bellingham, Wash., today.

An HH-65 helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Port Angeles was investigating a grounded vessel in Bellingham Bay when they received an emergency call from one of the kayakers at approximately 1:37 p.m. After locating the man, who had made the call with a handheld radio, the helicopter crew lifted him from the water and learned that three of his friends were still kayaking in the area. With the aid of the civilian motor vessel, Fate Hunter, and the tugboat, Lindsey Foss, the helicopter crew then rescued a second kayaker who had been spotted by the crew of the Lindsey Foss. The remaining two kayakers managed to paddle safely to shore.

“The handheld radio these kayakers had was a huge factor in finding them quickly and rescuing them from the water,” said Lt. Steven Mahany, Port Angeles Group Public Affairs Officer. “The caller was able to vector our helicopter right to his location.”

The rescued kayakers were transported to Bellingham Airport and received by emergency medical personnel.

The mission of Coast Guard Air Station Port Angeles is to efficiently and effectively employ people and resources to promote maritime safety, enforce federal laws, regulations and treaties, protect the environment and defend the United States.

The HH-65C Dolphin is a medevac-capable short-range recovery helicopter operated by several agencies in the United States, including the Coast Guard.

The HH-65C has been in use by Air Station Port Angeles since June and is known for its autopilot capabilities, which can complete an unaided approach to the water and bring the aircraft into a stable 50′ hover, or automatically fly search patterns which allows the crew to engage in other tasks.

Here’s a video of the rescue.

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