US Coast Guard rescues Juneau man from Sitka Sound

Posted: Monday, October 12, 2009

KODIAK - A Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from Air Station Sitka hoisted a 68-year-old Juneau man from Sitka Sound after his 36-foot fishing vessel reportedly sank at about 9 p.m. Saturday.

Lyle Martin, a Juneau resident, relayed a mayday call at 8:35 p.m. to Coast Guard Sector Juneau rescue coordination center, then abandoned his boat. A Good Samaritan was in the vicinity, located Martin and held him to the side of their vessel until help arrived.

Search and rescue watchstanders arrived 35 minutes later. The crew hoisted Martin into the helicopter. He was transported to Mount Edgecumbe Hospital in Sitka, then later medevaced to Seattle. His condition is unknown.

"This is an instance where the mariner greatly assisted the rescue effort by being prepared and letting the Coast Guard know the extent of his situation early," said Scott Girard, Sector Juneau lead command center controller. "Rescue crews and Good Samaritans were able to assist quickly, resulting in a life saved."

Marine Safety Detachment Sitka will investigate the cause of the sinking and ascertain if any environmental issues exist.

It was reported that 450 gallons of fuel were on board the vessel, but it should not pose a navigational hazard.

At the time of the rescue, air temperature was 51 degrees and water temperature was 53 degrees. It was not know if Martin was wearing a survival suit.

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