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KODIAK, Alaska â€” A Coast Guard Air Station MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew rescued three fishermen from a liferaft after their vessel grounded in Aniakchak Bay 196 miles southwest of Kodiak Tuesday morning.
Rescued are Kirk Vandoren, 48, of Homer, Patrick McBride, 31, also of Homer, and Garrett Doktor, 22, of Raymond, Wash.
Coast Guard District 17 command center watchstanders received the initial notification via an emergency position indicating radio beacon at 3:23 a.m. registered to the Homer-based 52-foot fishing vessel Bear. The watchstanders contacted the vessel’s master via satellite phone and were informed the vessel was aground and all three crewmen were in a liferaft wearing survival suits.
“The captain did a really good thing,” said Petty Officer 1st Class William Krahn, an aviation survival technician with Air Station Kodiak and the rescue swimmer on the case. “He had all the essentials that got him and his crew safely home – EPIRB, liferaft, survival suits.”
The watchstanders directed the launch of the helicopter crew at 4:56 a.m. and issued an urgent marine information broadcast requesting assistance from any mariners in the area. The rescue crew arrived on scene at 6:25 a.m. and safely hoisted the fishermen aboard the helicopter.
The rescue crew safely delivered the three Bear crewmen to the air station in Kodiak in good condition at 8:43 a.m. They did not require medical services. The crew was interviewed by personnel from Marine Safety Detachment Kodiak who are investigating the cause of the grounding.
“We were in a tight spot and they showed up and were heroes,” said Doktor. “They got us out of there, calmed us down, assessed the situation and went through the right motions. Thank God for them.”
The Bear remains aground in Aniakchak Bay with a maximum of 3,000 gallons of diesel on board. No pollution was sighted at the time of the grounding or rescue. The crew was long-lining for halibut.