A Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew located and rescued two overdue boaters in the vicinity of Harriet Point, near Kenai, yesterday (Sunday) afternoon.
A family member reported the boaters overdue Sunday to Coast Guard Sector Anchorage command center. The men had left Kenai in a 16-foot skiff Wednesday for a voyage to Drift River on the western shore of Cook Inlet, and and were scheduled to return to Kenai River on Friday.
The aircrew located the men in good condition and transported them aboard the helicopter to awaiting family members in Kenai.
Within about an hour of searching the path of the boaters, the Jayhawk crew spotted the skiff inland of Harriet Point, on the west side of Cook Inlet. The boaters had run out of gas and beached their vessel.
Lieutenant J-G Laura Gadziala, said the boaters did the right thing and stayed with their vessel once it ran out of gas. She said that it’s a lot easier to find a boat than an individual person.
Weather on scene was reported as 9 mph winds and 3-foot seas.
It was a busy weekend for Air Station Kodiak helicopter rescue crews. On Friday they were called upon to transport a woman from Saltry Cove who was injured in an accident, and on Sunday, they brought an ailing fisherman into town from near Village Islands.
Midday Friday the Coast Guard received a call from the Kodiak Police Department reporting a 50-year-old woman had been injured in an ATV accident at Saltry and needed a helicopter medevac. According to Petty Officer 2nd Class Justin Monk the Coast Guard agreed a helicopter flight would be the safest and most effective way to transport the woman back to town. The unidentified woman was turned over to EMTs in Kodiak. Her current condition was not reported.
On Sunday, a 69-year-old man from the fishing vessel Sierra Seas was suffering from acute stomach pains and needed assistance. The Jayhawk crew landed on a beach near Village Islands where they met the man and his wife were picked up for transport. The man’s stomach pain was reportedly from a pre-existing medical condition. He was transferred to local EMS, and like the earlier rescue, his identity was not reported by the Coast Guard and his current condition is unknown.
Coast Guard helicopter crews airlifted three mariners with unusual injuries near Cold Bay Wednesday night. Petty Officer Shawn Eggert says a distress call came in from the150-foot fishing vessel Pavlof around 11 p.m., reporting a 50-year-old man had taken ill.
“He was reported to have a staph infection and his vital signs were decreasing.”
Eggert says an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter attached to the cutter Munro picked up the man about 50 miles outside Cold Bay, and took him to the community’s clinic. He was then transferred to a Life-Med flight bound for Anchorage.
Around the same time, another Coast Guard helicopter crew airlifted two burn victims off a bulk cargo carrier. Eggert says two crew members on the Astoria Bay were badly burned on Tuesday, while they were fixing the ship’s boiler.
The Astoria Bay was traveling to China when the men got hurt. The ship consulted with the Coast Guard’s flight surgeon and diverted to Unalaska for medical help, but Eggert says the injured men wouldn’t have made it that far.
“There were at least third degree burns. It was bad enough to warrant flying them to the Cold Bay clinic, where the Guardian Life Flight [helicopter] could pick them up to take them to the Seattle Burn Center.”
Eggert says the burns are serious, though it’s not the most common kind of accident that happens at sea.
“Your most common injuries usually involve slips, trips and falls, basically. But burn injuries are one of the other dangers while working aboard a boat — especially any time you’re working around the boilers or engine room.”
The Astoria Bay is a 609-foot bulk carrier flagged out of Hong Kong.
Air Station Kodiak has moved one of its MH-60 Jayhawk helicopters to Cold Bay in anticipation of the winter fisheries in the Bering Sea. The crew arrived on Monday, and will rotate with relief crews from Kodiak.
An MH-65 Dolphin helicopter will also be on patrol from aboard a cutter during the winter as well.
Air Station Kodiak uses the forward locations to cut down response times to mariners in distress. In the summer, Jayhawk crews are deployed to Cordova and Arctic region.
The forward-deployment of Air Station Kodiak helicopters to Cordova for the summer is over for another year. The last MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter and its crew were scheduled to return to Kodiak yesterday.
Coast Guard spokesman Grant DeVuyst said the crews flew 26 cases since May 1st, with 11 rescues.
Air Station Kodiak sends crews to Cordova every summer because of the increase in vessel traffic during the salmon season, much in the same way it sends them to St. Paul for crabbing in the Bering Sea.
Lt. Francis Wolfe, a pilot with Air Station Kodiak, said the forward operating base reduces the distance aircrews have to travel when responding to emergencies in the Gulf of Alaska and Prince William Sound.
Staff Sgt. Lucas Stephens and Spc. Vincent Wallace of the 716th Explosive Ordinance Disposal Company, 2nd Engineer Brigade, take measurements of the unexploded ordinance in attempt to identify its type an origin near Chignik, Alaska, July 1, 2013. EOD teams use specific tools and procedures to ensure that all unexploded ordinance is handled as safely as possible to prevent premature detonations. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Jonathan Klingenberg
An unexploded military bomb found on the beach near Chignik was disposed of by specialists from Fort Wainwright in Fairbanks on Monday. Staff Sargent Lucas Stephens and Specialist. Vincent Wallace of the 716th Explosive Ordinance Disposal Company were transported to the remote beach by an Air Station Kodiak MH-60 Jayhawk. It was discovered by a beachcomber in Mitrofania Bay who reported it to the state troopers.
The team examined the bomb and determined it was possibly a smoke bomb. After blowing it up with C-4 explosives, fragments were collected for further analysis.