KODIAK — Ten years ago, Sergi Kuzmin was rescued off Cape Chiniak by a Coast Guard helicopter crew when his fishing boat sank. On Friday morning, Kuzmin was the one doing the rescuing.
At 7:15 a.m., the three-man crew of the 32-foot fishing boat Cyclone began broadcasting a mayday call, saying their boat was sinking quickly.
Kuzmin, onboard the 42-foot Glacier, was about a mile and a half away when the Cyclone began radioing for help. In a recording of the mayday call released by the Coast Guard, the crew of the Cyclone frantically asks for help and gives their position. When the Coast Guard dispatcher asks how many people are onboard, an unidentified Cyclone crewman says, “No time, no time!” and disconnects.
The next voice in the recording is Kuzmin’s, calmly reporting, “Coast Guard, this is Glacier; I’m about a mile and a half from them.”
On Feb. 11, 2002, Kuzmin was onboard the 39-foot fishing vessel Vehar when it struck a rock in bad weather near Cape Chiniak. Donning a survival suit, he and the two other men onboard jumped into the North Pacific before being lifted to safety by the Coast Guard amid blowing snow and darkness.
Conditions Friday were only slightly better than that day. In the radio call, Kuzmin reported 25-knot winds and 8- to 10-foot swells. According to National Weather Service recordings, the water temperature was 37 degrees.
By the time Kuzmin and the Glacier arrived on the scene, the Cyclone had all but sunk.
“He’s almost down … only his bow is sticking out, going down real fast,” Kuzmin said over the radio.
Maneuvering close to the sinking boat, the Glacier’s crew helped the three Cyclone crew to safety without incident. The rescue was so quick that none had to be treated for hypothermia or other health problems, said Lt. Matthew Zinn, chief of Kodiak’s Coast Guard Marine Safety Detachment.
Zinn said an investigation into the sinking continues. A commercial flight on Saturday detected no oil spill from the Cyclone, which went down in about 300 feet of water.
The Glacier returned the Cyclone’s crew to Kodiak, but not without a stop along the way.
“After they picked them up, they did fish for about three hours, in true Kodiak fashion,” said Coast Guard spokeswoman Petty Officer 2nd Class Charly Hengen.
Contact Mirror editor James Brooks at firstname.lastname@example.org.