Stranded Mariner Rescued by Coast Guard as Vessel Sinks

KODIAK, Alaska – A mariner whose boat began sinking in a remote area of Prince William Sound is safe after being rescued by the Coast Guard Wednesday afternoon.

At about 2:30 p.m. the 67-year-old man used his cell phone to call the Seward Police Department. The call for help was relayed to Coast Guard Sector Anchorage watch standers who were able to contact the individual and gather important information.

The vessel was reported to be grounded on rocks in Passage Canal. Watch standers told the individual to stay where he was as they coordinated his rescue.

At 2:34 p.m. an urgent marine information broadcast was issued for any vessels in the area to assist. With no vessels able to assist in the area, an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter was launched from Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak.

Further attempts to contact the individual were unsuccessful.

After about one hour the helicopter reached Passage Canal and began its search. At 5:43 p.m. the individual was located on a rocky outcropping near his battered vessel. The man was easily spotted wearing an orange survival suit and wrapped in a sleeping bag.

The rescue swimmer was lowered to a nearby rocky outcropping to evaluate the situation. A rescue basket was then lowered to the swimmer by the flight mechanic. The man was assisted into the basket and was safely hoisted into the helicopter where he was wrapped in a blanket. He was transported to Whittier where he was turned over to awaiting emergency medical personnel and treated for mild hypothermia.

The vessel broke free of the rocks during the rescue and was last seen adrift and partially submerged. The cause of the sinking is not known at this time.

Weather conditions at the time of the rescue were calm seas and clear skies.

The Coast Guard would like to remind mariners to ensure they have all recommended safety equipment aboard their vessel to include life jackets, flares and a VHF radio. Given the remoteness of Alaskan waters, mariners should also consider having survival equipment aboard in the event they are forced to take refuge ashore.

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