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Flare led USCG to grounded fisherman in Alaska

USCG Alaska

A fisherman who grounded his boat to avoid sinking, was quickly found by US Coast Guards in Alaska after firing a flare.

One day in November, a U.S. Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from Air Station Sitka, rescued the man after he intentionally grounded his wooden fishing vessel, the Onyx.

USCG Sector Juneau received a VHF distress call from the man aboard the 33-foot, wooden fishing trawler. The vessel was taking on water, and he beached it on Strait Island, off Port Protection in Southeast Alaska, to avoid sinking. He activated his EPIRB and put on a survival suit before going onto the shore. 

Sector Juneau called for a helicopter launch from Air Station Sitka, and the cutters Anthony Petit and Anacapa diverted to the area. Winds were about 35 knots with rain and mist.

The helicopter crew spotted the man’s red flare and strobe light.  The crew hoisted him safely and brought him back to Sitka. No injuries were reported.

Co-pilot, Lt. Kyle Johnson, says, “Considering the cold water and air temperatures, the outcome could have been much worse. Fortunately, he reported his position and intentions on VHF Channel 16, signaled us with a flare, and wore a strobe light on his survival suit. Because of all this, he was able to keep his body temperature up and we were able to find him.”

The image is courtesy of USCG.

Dec 02, 2019