A Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak HC-130 Hercules airplane crew located six people aboard a vessel and assisted in their rescue in Kuskokwim Bay Sunday, a news release said.
The Hercules crew relayed the vessel's position to an Air Station Kodiak MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew and good Samaritan vessels that provided assistance.
The crew of the 22-foot aluminum boat reported that they ran out of fuel while travelling from Eek to Quinhagak, and relayed a distress call via cell phone before losing communication completely.
Coast Guard 17th District watchstanders were contacted by the Alaska State Troopers, and immediately directed the launch of the Hercules and an Air Station Kodiak MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter to join in the search.
Once arriving in the vicinity of the disabled vessel, the Hercules crew spotted the vessel adrift in Kuskokwim Bay and vectored in the Jayhawk crew to check the status of the boat’s crew. Shortly thereafter three good Samaritan vessels arrived to provide fuel and escort them to the nearest village.
“This is a great case to demonstrate the significance of carrying an emergency position indicating radio beacon with you, as well as filing a float plan,” said Lt. Dan DeAngelo, the co-pilot of the Hercules used in the search. “We’re lucky that they were able to have some sort of cell reception.”
The vessel was not outfitted with a VHF radio, but everyone aboard did have lifejackets.