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.

[Play brings rarely-seen side of Klondike Gold Rush to fore]

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

More in News

The Aurora Borealis glows over the Mendenhall Glacier in 2014. (Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)
Aurora Forecast

Forecasts from the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ Geophysical Institute for the week of Feb. 5

Chunks of ice break off the Perito Moreno Glacier, in Lake Argentina, at Los Glaciares National Park, near El Calafate, in Argentina's Patagonia region, March 10, 2016. As glaciers melt and pour massive amounts of water into nearby lakes, 15 million people across the globe live under the threat of a sudden and deadly outburst flood, a new study finds. (AP Photo / Francisco Munoz)
Study: 15 million people live under threat of glacial floods

More than half of those are in just four countries: India, Pakistan, Peru and China.

A porcupine dines in mid-August near the Mendnehall Glacier. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire File)
On the Trails: Putting a finer point on porcupines

Plants such as roses and devil’s club aren’t the only prickly ones…

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)
Police calls for Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2023

This report contains information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire 
Edward Richards, left, a high school student in the Sitka School District, talks about the lack of mental health services in Alaska’s public schools as part of the testimony also offered by district Superintendent Frank Hauser, center, and student Felix Myers during a Senate Education Meeting on Monday at the Alaska State Capitol. The committee is proposing a 17% increase in the state’s school funding formula, which was remained essentially flat since 2017.
School’s in at the Capitol

Students and education leaders from around state make case for more classroom cash.

Folks at the Alaska State Capitol openly admit to plenty of fish tales, but to a large degree in ways intended to benefit residents and sometimes even the fish. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
The bizarre bills other state legislatures are considering

Alaska’s Legislature isn’t mulling the headline-grabbers some statehouses have in the works.

This photo shows snow-covered hills in the Porcupine River Tundra in the Yukon Territories, Canada. In July 1997, a hunter contacted troopers in Fairbanks, Alaska, and reported finding a human skull along the Porcupine River, around 8 miles (13 kilometers) from the Canadian border. Investigators used genetic genealogy to help identify the remains as those of Gary Frank Sotherden, according to a statement Thursday, Feb. 2, 2023, from Alaska State Troopers. (AP Photo / Rick Bowmer)
Skull found in ‘97 in Interior belongs to New York man

A skull found in a remote part of Alaska’s Interior in 1997… Continue reading

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)
Police calls for Saturday, Feb. 4, 2023

This report contains information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Most Read