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Coast Guard aircrews rescue three people from Munson Island, Alaska

Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter,
Archive photo: A Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter takes off for a training flight in Kodiak, Alaska. Training flights are frequently flown to ensure aircrews stay proficient with qualifications and emergency procedures during flight.
U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Charly Hengen.

KODIAK, Alaska — Coast Guard aircrews rescued three boaters who were severely hypothermic from Munson Island, Tuesday.

An MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak safely transported them to the National Guard hanger in Bethel and transferred them to emergency medical service personnel, who took them to the hospital in Bethel for further care.

Around 11:45 p.m. Monday, watchstanders at Coast Guard 17th District Command Center received a request from an Alaskan State Trooper for assistance with a search for three people.

The nephew of one of the missing people reported that he received a call around 9:50 p.m. from his uncle, who stated they were taking on water while aboard a 20-foot aluminum skiff north of Nunam Inqua. After the call disconnected, the nephew tried to call back but only got his uncle’s voicemail. He attempted to get underway to assist, but was unable to due to weather conditions.

The Alaska State Troopers were also unable to search from the water as they had to beach their vessel due to the weather conditions.

The helicopter crew and an HC-130 Hercules crew, also from the air station, launched in response.

 Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak HC-130J Super Hercules,
Archive photo: Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak’s first HC-130J Super Hercules arrived in Kodiak, Alaska, the Aug. 21, 2018. Air Station Kodiak is expected to receive five HC-130J model plans by the end of 2019 to replace the five HC-130H model plans currently there.
U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Jonathan Harper.

Around 4 a.m Tuesday, the Hercules crew reported they saw a fire and people ashore on the southern tip of Munson Island. One person was waving their hands and the other two were under a blanket. The aircrew dropped radios to them and established communication, as well as lowered additional survival equipment.

The Jayhawk helicopter crew was on scene by 6:30 a.m. and landed nearby. The Jayhawk crew assisted them, carrying one aboard the helicopter and headed to the hangar for a transfer to EMS personnel.

Weather on scene was seas with 3-foot swells, and 23-MPH winds with gusts up to 51 MPH.


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