3 hypothermic mariners rescued from skiff in Northwest Alaska

A Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter aircrew deployed from forward-operating location Kotzebue transfer a mariner to awaiting emergency medical services personnel at the Kodiak Airport, Alaska, August 13, 2019. The Jayhawk aircrew located and rescued three hypothermic mariners from a skiff low on fuel and beset by weather and sea conditions in Holtham Inlet (Photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Fernando Gamboa)
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ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - Dispatchers with the U.S. Coast Guard 17th District received a call at about 10:35 a.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 13 for help finding an overdue skiff that was supposed to be coming into Kotzebue.

While the nearest base is hundreds of miles away, USCG says that they station personnel and helicopters in certain areas during the high risk season. Luckily, there was a USCG helicopter in Kotzebue, just a few miles from Hotham Sound.

The Coast Guard sent a MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter and eventually found the skiff " low on fuel beset with weather and sea conditions." The helicopter deployed a rescue swimmer, who hoisted the three crew.

They were transported to emergency medical services in Kotzebue.

“We were fortunate to have a very positive outcome to this case based on cooperation with the Alaska State Troopers and the Northwest Arctic Borough Search and Rescue organization. Both provided a detailed search area and through local knowledge that allowed us to find the overdue boaters within 5 minutes of arriving on scene,” said Lt. Jeffrey Mistrick, the MH-60 Jayhawk pilot, in a release.

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