The crews of 30-foot F/V MISS JANA and 50-foot F/V EQUINOX, both hailing out of Cordova, AK, and owned by Leslie P. Allen of Valdez, came to the rescue of three people whose 36-foot Belltech 5 was sinking near Valdez Wednesday night.
The Coast Guard issued an Urgent Marine Information Broadcast as soon as the Belltech 5 crew alerted them via VHF 16 what was happening. Fortunately, MISS JANA and EQUINOX were close enough to make the difference.
The Belltech 5 had already sunk with her crew already in the water when MISS JANA arrived to pull them out. The three rescued men were then transferred to EQUINOX, which in turn transferred them to the Coast Guard for further transport for medical care. Conditions at that time included snow, 7mph winds, and 3-foot seas.
According to the Coast Guard, the Belltech 5 sunk to a depth of 1,200 with no noted pollution. That this vessel sank is the bad news. The good news is that three men are alive thanks to their timely communication via the proper channel, VHF 16, the Coast Guard’s quick response, and two Good Samaritan fishing vessel crews, the likes of which are responsible for saving so many men and women who might not otherwise be here to tell their tales.
Of course, potential pollution is being monitored and an investigation of the cause is underway.