Four men have been rescued from a life raft in Fairweather Grounds between Cross Sound and Yakutat Bay by Coast Guard aircrews of the Air Station Sitka.
The incident was reported on Wednesday morning, June 10.
The four men in distress were picked up by the aircrew and transferred to emergency medical center at Air Station Sitka.
Watchstanders on duty in the Coast Guard Sector of Juneau received a mayday call from the captain of the 73-foot fishing vessel Kupreanof, registered in Petersburg, reporting that the vessel was flooding with water and sinking.
The vessel was caught in bad weather conditions with 10-mph winds and 7-foot high waves.
The personnel on duty directed the launch of an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter from Air Station Sitka to the incident site.
When the Kupreanof crewmembers began entering the vessel’s life raft, the Coast Guard aircrew arrived. Soon after, the rescue teams began hoisting the men into the helicopter.
Lt. Ben Neal, a pilot at Air Station Sitka said:
“The crew of the Kupreanof did the right thing by calling for help, putting on their immersion suits and safely abandoning the ship. Emergencies can occur at any time and having the right safety equipment is critical when operating in Alaska’s extreme environment.”
All four seamen were reported in good condition. The Coast Guard authority will further investigate the cause of the vessel sinking.
Scott Giard, the command duty officer of the Juneau Sector commented:
“As of Oct. 15, 2015, commercial fishing vessel safety exams will be mandatory for vessels operating beyond three nautical miles offshore. This case is a perfect example of why exams are crucial for the safety of fishermen.”