The F/V Independence took on water 40 miles southeast of Kodiak, near Sitkalidak Island, Monday morning. 

The 78-foot fishing vessel, homeported in Kodiak, had lost steerage and was taking on water. Following a mayday call made to Sector Anchorage at 10:58 a.m., a Coast Guard Jayhawk H-60 helicopter and C-130 Hercules aircraft responded to the incident, wrote PA3 Lauren Dean, a spokesperson for the Coast Guard. 

A local who was listening to the VHF radio overheard one of the helicopter pilots requesting that the crew get in their gumby suits and prepare their life rafts as a safety precaution.  

According to the Coast Guard, the helicopter was already flying and self-diverted to help the sinking vessel, arriving on scene at 11:27 a.m., followed by the C130 crew who arrived five minutes later. 

When the aircraft arrived on scene, the helicopter deployed two rescue swimmers and a dewatering pump to remove water from the vessel. Because of the flooding, the vessel temporarily lost steering ability, Dean wrote in the statement. 

When the crews realized that a single dewatering pump was not enough to stop the ship from sinking, the airplane crew dropped a second dewatering pump. 

Two pumps were able to remove enough water for the vessel to stop sinking until the Coast Guard cutter Mustang arrived to escort the vessel back to Kodiak. The vessel was able to regain steering, and steered itself back to Kodiak around 4:40 p.m. 

 

 

 

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