Sitka, Alaska (KINY) The 33-foot fishing vessel Leona, started taking on water and pumps couldn't remedy the problem.
A Coast Guard Air Station Sitka MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew and the crew of a good Samaritan fishing vessel teamed up to rescue the three people from the sinking vessel in the Sitka Sound.
Crews said bilge pumps were unable to keep up with the rate of flooding. The station responded to an urgent marine information broadcast and a Jayhawk helicopter responded to the scene. The crew lowered an emergency dewatering pump to the Leona but the ship continued to sink.
A good samaritan vessel, the Pacific Pearl helped the crew once it abandoned ship and transported them back to Sitka. “Even on the nicest of days at sea, an unplanned emergency can be just over the horizon,” said Cmdr. Michael Kahle, Sector Juneau search and rescue mission coordinator. “We are thankful that the crew of the Leona was prepared for an emergency situation and grateful for the efforts of the Pacific Pearl to assist their fellow fishermen.”
At the time of the incident, the fishing vessel Leona had approximately 130 gallons of diesel fuel on board. While there are currently no reports of pollution, an Air Station Sitka helicopter with an embarked pollution responder from Marine Safety Detachment Sitka will conduct an overflight to search for any indication of an oil release on the surface of the water. Aids-to-Navigation Team Sitka will provide a boat crew to assist.
Weather at the time was 5-foot seas and 11-mph winds.