Coast Guard aids disabled fishing vessel

A Coast Guard helicopter crew from Sitka came to the rescue of a disabled fishing vessel taking on water six miles south of Icy Bay, within the Wrangell-Saint Elias Wilderness.

The Air Station Sitka MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew delivered a dewatering pump to the 55-foot fishing vessel Elise Marie on the evening of Oct. 22. Crew aboard the Elise Marie was able to pump to keep up with the flooding while they waited for further Coast Guard assistance.

The Coast Guard response came just two hours after Sector Juneau Command Center received initial notification requesting assistance from the disabled vessel. Watchstanders director the launch of a plane, helicopter, and Coast Guard Cutter John McCormick.

“Ultimately with the use of the dewatering pump to help stop the flooding,” said Lt. Justin Neal, an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter pilot on the rescue. The crew of the John McCormick arrived shortly thereafter and towed the disabled vessel toward Yakutat. Yakutat police took over the tow near shore and the vessel arrived safely in Yakutat.

Coast Guard officers said the success of this rescue highlights the importance of mariner preparedness.

“The master has good communication equipment and survival gear onboard, which allowed us to find them quickly, tow them safely and with confidence,” said Lt. Joseph Sullivan-Springhetti, commanding officer of the Coast Guard Cutter John McCormick.