Alaska Air Guardsmen rescue three in sinking boat in Cook Inlet near Fire Island
JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska — Airmen with the Alaska Air National Guard’s 210th and 212th Rescue Squadrons rescued three people in Cook Inlet this morning who were stranded on a sandbar in the mud flats about six miles southeast of Fire Island.
The Alaska Rescue Coordination Center received a call from the Anchorage Fire Department at 9:05 a.m., requesting assistance to rescue occupants of a small vessel near Fire Island that was taking on water and had begun to sink.
An HH-60 Pave Hawk from the 210th Rescue Squadron, with a Guardian Angel team (pararescuemen) from the 212th Rescue Squadron on board, immediately responded. They spotted the three survivors in their small Jetcraft boat stranded on the mud flats, several miles from dry land.
During the quick, out-going tide, the boaters began by taking on water with a real possibility of sinking, to being stranded on the mudflats with no way to evacuate on their own.
The Air National Guard’s rescue team hoisted the three survivors into the Pave Hawk and transported them to Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage at 9:54 a.m., where they were released for medical evaluation.
Statement from Anchorage Fire Department
The Anchorage Fire Department received a 9-1-1 call at 9:02 am today from a small watercraft in Cook Inlet, requesting assistance. The boat was described by the caller as a blue Jetcraft that was rapidly taking on water and was 50% submerged. The caller reported that there were three persons onboard, all wearing lifejackets and carrying a radio and flares. They reported GPS coordinates that put them in the vicinity of Fire Island. AFD dispatched 10 units, including Boat 1, a rescue boat, to search for the sinking watercraft. AFD units responded to ground vantage points, simultaneously, in an attempt to quickly locate the watercraft. A call was made to the Alaska Air National Guard (AANG) and Alaska State Troopers (AST), as well.
Approximately twenty minutes later, the watercraft was located by AFD Boat 1 as an AKANG rescue helicopter arrived over the scene. The helicopter airlifted the boaters and transported them to a local hospital for evaluation.
AFD would like to remind boaters to file a float plan and carry the necessary rescue equipment and lifejackets onboard for each person.