HONOLULU — Coast Guard, Rescue Coordination Center Fiji, and the merchant vessel Natinteraoi crews rescue three overdue mariners in Kiribati, 63 nautical miles west of Abaiang Island, Tuesday, May 2, 2023.
The watchstanders deployed a Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point HC-130 Hercules aircrew traveling over 2,500 nautical miles to search for the overdue mariners who had been missing for over 80 hours.
The HC-130 Hercules aircrew located the survivors within 40 minutes of arriving at the search area comprising over 5,600 square nautical miles, approximately the size of the State of Connecticut, and vectored the vessel Natinteraoi to safely recover all three persons and their boat.
“This is a compelling story of surviving at sea,” said Capt. Craig O’Brien, the chief of response for Coast Guard District 14. “It is an honor for the U.S. Coast Guard, who has been executing search and rescue in this region for over fifty years, to help bring these men home to their families.”
At 3:05 p.m., Sunday, Joint Rescue Coordination Center (JRCC) Honolulu watchstanders received notification from Rescue Coordination Center Fiji of an overdue 17-foot wooden boat with three men on board that departed Nawerewere Village, Tarawa en route to the west of Abaiang Island to fish.
“The U.S. Coast Guard is world renowned for our professionalism and this was a testament to the International Maritime Search and Rescue System,” stated Admiral Michael Day, the SAR Coordinator. “I’m thankful we were able to support the people of Kiribati in locating their loved ones.”
The mariners were transported back to Betio, Tarawa.
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