Coast Guard performs multiple rescues around holiday weekend

Alaskans might have relaxed for the holiday, but the Coast Guard didn’t.

A P-18 Super Cub aircraft and two people on shore at Montague Island, Alaska, after the plane crashed July 6, 2022. (U.S. Coast Guard / Lt. Cmdr. Josh Wofford)

A P-18 Super Cub aircraft and two people on shore at Montague Island, Alaska, after the plane crashed July 6, 2022. (U.S. Coast Guard / Lt. Cmdr. Josh Wofford)

Coast Guard air and vessel crews had a busy weekend rescuing people from medical emergencies, sinking ships and crashing planes across the state.

The call for search and rescues is on track for a regular year, said Coast Guard District 17 SAR specialist Paul Webb.

“We are on track to have about the same number of SAR incidents as last year. FY 2021 the CG responded to 557 incidents,” Webb said in an email. “Types of cases may very year to year but this is a typical year.”

Sinking vessel

Sector Juneau watchstanders received a radio call Monday from the fishing vessel Miss Amy that the vessel was taking on water near Porcupine Rock, south of the Lisianski Street, located about 80 miles west-southwest of Juneau, with three crew aboard.

Watchstanders issued an urgent marine information broadcast while scrambling an MH-60 from CGAS Sitka and the Sentinel-class cutter USCGC Bailey Barco. Two nearby vessels, Cirus and Lucky Strike, also responded to the broadcast and arrived on scene to render assistance.

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The Miss Amy was unable to keep up with the incoming water and sank five miles offshore, according to the Coast Guard; the three passengers went in the water and were rescued by the civilian vessels on-scene.

“We’re especially grateful to good Samaritan vessels Cirus and Lucky Strike, which responded to our broadcast for help and rescued the survivors who went into the water after their vessel sank,” said Sector Juneau watchstander Petty Officer 2nd Class Matt Bitinas in the news release. “Their quick response saved three lives.”

The three passengers were hoisted aboard the MH-60 and taken to Sitka for medical care.

At-sea medevac

At 9:13 p.m. on Saturday, D17 watchstanders received a call that a crewmember aboard the Pacific Producer, a 167-foot fishing vessel located near the Egegik River, roughly 65 miles south-southeast of Dillingham, that a female crewmember was experiencing sepsis-like symptoms, according to a Coast Guard news release.

Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak sortied HC-130 Hercules and MH-60 Jayhawk, according the news release; the HC-130 aircrew facilitated communications while the MH-60 aircrew hoisted the woman in distress and medevac’d her to Dillingham.

Plane crash

At 4:15 p.m. on Tuesday, Sector Anchorage watchstanders received a report of a plane crash on Montague Island, located approximately 60 miles east of Seward, with two people in stable condition with no injuries reported, according to the news release. The crash was just above the tide line in a P-18 Super Cub.

Watchstanders launched an MH-65 Dolphin forward deployed to Cordova, which recovered the two crash survivors and transported them to Cordova.

“The quick response by the aircrew in Cordova helped these two get the help they needed,” said Chief Petty Officer Katie Brown, Sector Anchorage command duty officer. “It’s incredible these two people made it out okay, and the fact that they had communication equipment readily available really aided in our response time.”

The cause of the incident is under investigation, according to the news release.

• Contact reporter Michael S. Lockett at 757-621-1197 or mlockett@juneauempire.com.

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