A Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter pilot watches as the aircrew assists overdue boaters, July 18, 2022. (Lt. Scott Kellerman / U.S. Coast Guard)

A Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter pilot watches as the aircrew assists overdue boaters, July 18, 2022. (Lt. Scott Kellerman / U.S. Coast Guard)

USCG conducts multiple rescues around state

Coast Guard aircrews stayed busy on Monday from the Southeast to western Alaska.

The Coast Guard conducted multiple search and rescue operations across Alaska’s vast expanse over the last several days, rescuing overdue boaters and medevacing medical casualties from cruise ships at sea.

Closer to home, a 27-foot skiff sank in Bartlett Cove, but all fuel was removed beforehand and the environmental impact is negligible, said the boat’s operator.

Overdue boaters

Coast Guard District 17 received a report from the Alaska State Troopers just after 11 a.m. on July 18 that eight boaters aboard a vessel traveling from Kotzebue to Buckland, a 75-mile voyage as the raven flies, were overdue, according to a Coast Guard news release.

A pilot reported seeing people and a vessel matching the description on the Baldwin Peninsula, which was routed to the D17 command center. A Coast Guard aircrew flying an MH-60 Jayhawk sortied from their location forward deployed to Kotzebue to recover the boaters. All eight were recovered in good condition and handed off to EMS personnel in Kotzebue, according to the news release.

“The teamwork between the Coast Guard, Alaska State Troopers, and the good Samaritan pilot helped us to locate these boaters,” said MH-60 pilot Lt. Scott Kellerman. “This case reinforces the importance of filing a float plan with friends and family.”

The vessel remains anchored near the peninsula.

Medevac at sea

On the other side of the state that same morning, an aircrew from Coast Guard Air Station Sitka flying an MH-60 Jayhawk medevaced a 64-year-old man from the cruise ship Norwegian Encore, underway in the Chatham Strait.

Watchstanders received a request for assistance at 5:48 a.m. that a 64-year-old man had been suffering from stroke-like symptoms for more than an hour. The aircrew arrived on scene at 7:27 a.m. and hoisted the casualty, transporting him to civilian medical care in Sitka, where he was in stable condition, according to the news release.

Stricken skiff

Somewhat closer to Juneau, a skiff belonging to UnCruise Adventures began taking on water in Bartlett Cove in the Glacier Bay National Park on Monday afternoon.The Coast Guard did not deploy any resources due to the minor nature of the spill, according to UnCruise.

The 27-foot skiff began flooding while under tow for unknown reasons after a day’s operations, according to an UnCruise news release. No passengers or crew were aboard, according to the news release, and the crew immediately removed the fuel containers aboard.

Approximately 1/8 of a gallon of gasoline were spilled inside the boom deployed to contain it, according to the news release.

“Our immediate priority is to assure minimal environmental impact. We were pleased to remove the two portable gas containers” said UnCruise CEO Dan Blanchard in a statement. “We have engaged with the appropriate local authorities and immediately enacted action plans via our Captain and crew. I look forward to quickly resolving this and returning our guests to normal operations shortly.”

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

A Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak MH-60 Jayhawk aircrew rescued eight overdue boaters, flying them to Kotzebue on July 18, 2022. (Lt. Scott Kellerman / U.S. Coast Guard)

A Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak MH-60 Jayhawk aircrew rescued eight overdue boaters, flying them to Kotzebue on July 18, 2022. (Lt. Scott Kellerman / U.S. Coast Guard)

An MH-60 Jayhawk crew chief from Coast Guard Air Station Sitka hoists a casualty from the Norwegian Princess while underway in the Chatham Strait on July 18, 2020. (Screenshot)

An MH-60 Jayhawk crew chief from Coast Guard Air Station Sitka hoists a casualty from the Norwegian Princess while underway in the Chatham Strait on July 18, 2020. (Screenshot)

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