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ANCHORAGE, Alaska — A Coast Guard Air Station Sitka MH-60 Jayhawk crew rescued three people from a sunken jet boat on the Lace River near Berners Bay approximately 36 miles northwest of Juneau Thursday night.
The aircrew hoisted a woman and two men and transported them to awaiting emergency medical personnel on shore in Juneau.
Coast Guard Sector Juneau command center watchstanders received a personal locator beacon SOS alert from a person in distress on the Lace River. The Coast Guard watchstanders established communications with the user of the PLB by text message. All three were safe with no injuries in chest-high water with no shelter and little food. Sector Juneau promptly directed the launch of the MH-60 Jayhawk rescue helicopter crew.
“This case demonstrates the importance of having a signaling device on your person in case an emergency occurs,” said Lt. Kailee Evereteze, command duty officer, Sector Juneau. “We were able to quickly locate the vessel owner from the information texted from the personal locator beacon. In addition to beacons, we recommend boaters always wear their life jackets since there is little to no time to put a life jacket on when an incident occurs.”
The weather on scene at the time of the hoist was reported as 58 degrees with a ceiling of 2,400 feet and approximately 4.5 miles visibility.
Aside from the use of PLBs, VHF radio and other signaling devices, the Coast Guard recommends the additional use of the Boating Safety app for reporting distress on the water from a mobile phone. The app features an Emergency Assistance button which can be used to call the closest Coast Guard command center during an emergency.