Fishermen rescued from raft off Kodiak


Posted: Monday, January 13, 2003

ANCHORAGE - Five fishermen were rescued from a life raft Saturday night as their boat sank about 75 miles off Kodiak.

A Coast Guard Jayhawk helicopter crew rescued two of the fishermen before a helicopter crewmember noticed the hoisting cable was frayed. The other fishermen, along with a rescue swimmer, were taken on board the Heritage, a vessel that responded to the Coast Guard's request for help.

The men, who were wearing survival suits, were in good condition, the Coast Guard said.

The crew of the 58-foot Sunrunner radioed a distress call about 5:30 p.m. Saturday and requested an additional dewatering pump. The boat was taking on water in 12-foot seas whipped by 30-knot east winds near Twoheaded Island, about 75 miles southwest of Kodiak.

After dispatching the Jayhawk and C-130, the Coast Guard issued an urgent marine broadcast asking for help from area vessels. The Heritage was the first of three fishing vessels to respond, the Coast Guard said.

The Jayhawk crew delivered the dewatering pump at about 7:30 p.m., but the Sunrunner crew couldn't get the pump started, so the crew decided to abandon ship. After donning survival suits, they deployed the life raft.

The skipper took the vessel's emergency location beacon with him into the raft, the Coast Guard said.

The Coast Guard rescue swimmer was lowered to the water to help the men from the life raft into the rescue basket. After two men were hoisted into the helicopter, the flight mechanic noticed the frayed cable.

One of the fishermen and the rescue swimmer were in the water waiting for a lift and the other two fishermen were in the life raft.

The helicopter crew waited overhead and directed the Heritage crew to the site. Crews on board the Heritage first rescued the men in the water and then the two in the raft, the Coast Guard said.

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