An Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon, or EPIRB, played a key role in the rescue of a fishing vessel owner and operator who went overboard in Union Bay, northwest of Meyers Chuck in Southeast Alaska, U.S. Coast Guard officials said.
The 70-year-old man, clinging to a piece of debris, was hoisted from the stormy waters on Sunday, Nov. 1, by a Coast Guard Air Station Sitka MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew.
He was identified only as the owner and operator of the fishing vessel Irony.
The rescue crew battled winds of up to 57 miles an hour and 10-foot seas to rescue the man, whose condition was described as stable, and take him to medical services in Ketchikan.
“What saved this man’s life was his essential survival equipment,” said Lt. Justin Neal, the helicopter pilot. “He had an emergency position indicating radio beacon registered in his name that allowed us to find him quickly, and his survival suit kept him warm long enough for us to rescue him.”
The man’s EPIRB “allowed us to deploy our survival swimmer and hoist the man to safety to get him to further medical treatment,” said Nick Meyers, the Sector Juneau command duty officer.
Rescue efforts began when the Coast Guard 17th District command center personnel notified Sector Juneau watchstanders of a search and rescue satellite alert from the Irony at about 4:46 p.m. Nov. 1.
The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Anacapa joined the Air Station Sitka in the rescue mission.