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Parachute flares used in hunter rescue

Hunter rescue

US Coast Guards air crew rescued a hunter, with help from parachute flares.

The hunter got into trouble after his boat sank in Three Saints Bay, Alaska, one evening in September 2019.

The hunter used two parachute flares and a smoke flare to aid the helicopter crew when they got near.

An MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak hoisted the 37-year-old hunter from a life raft and safely transported him to Kodiak, where he was reported in good health and required no medical care.

Earlier, Coast Guard Sector Anchorage watchstanders received a 406-megahertz emergency position indicating radio beacon notification registered to the Sara Jean, a 61-foot fishing tender.

Watchstanders attempted to reach anyone aboard the vessel over the VHF radio and through contact information in the registration information, as well as issued an urgent marine information broadcast, but received no response.

The helicopter crew launched and located the life raft. While the aircrew was in the search area and conducting the hoist, communications between the them and watchstanders were lost for approximately 25 minutes. VHF coverage is known to be patchy in Three Saints Bay.

The hunter reported the vessel was taking on water and simultaneously lost power on the starboard engine. The vessel began to list and then sank in approximately 350-feet of water at the entrance to the bay.

The fisherman donned a survival suit before he entered the water and climbed into the life raft, which automatically deployed using a hydrostatic release.

Lt. Megan Peters, aircraft commander on the response, says, “His boat went down extremely fast and he was prepared, he did everything right. All of his gear had been properly maintained so that it was in good working order when he needed it.”

The photo shows MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak recovering a life raft during a law enforcement patrol near Three Saints Bay, Alaska, It is a U.S. Coast Guard photo courtesy of Air Station Kodiak.
Oct 04, 2019