Four Coast Guard personnel sustained injuries following the crash of their MH-60 Jayhawk during a search and rescue mission in Alaska. The Air Station Sitka based helicopter crashed on Read Island, just south of Juneau.
At approximately 8 p.m. on Monday, November 13th the F/V LYDIA MARIE began taking on water amidst the rough seas of Frederick Sound. A distress signal was promptly transmitted by the ship’s captain to the U.S. Coast Guard, and the vessel navigated towards the sheltered northern coast of Read Island in Farragut Bay while awaiting assistance.
According to reports, the initial responders to Monday night’s Air Station Sitka helicopter crash were the crew members from the distressed fishing vessel the U.S. Coast Guard was dispatched to assist. Two brothers aboard the F/V LYDIA MARIE reportedly played a pivotal part in rescuing the stranded air crew after hearing the crash.
The captain of the F/V LYDIA MARIE was able to turn on the crab lights then row ashore to assist. Two helicopter crew members were trapped inside the downed helicopter; working together, all on the scene were able to free them. The F/V LYDIA MARIE crew then used their radio to summon aid.
“Rescue crews from Alaska Wildlife Troopers and Petersburg Fire and Rescue arrived on scene at approximately 12:50 a.m., and a second MH-60 Jayhawk aircrew from Air Station Sitka arrived at approximately 1:39 a.m. Together, they provided preliminary medical care to two crew members who were reported to have sustained serious injuries,” reads a Tuesday statement from the Coast Guard.
Following the crash, buoy tender USCGC ELDERBERRY and Fast Response Cutter USCGC DOUGLAS DENMAN provided support at the crash site for both the U.S. Coast Guard crew and the F/V LYDIA MARIE crew.
“The four crew members were hoisted aboard the second Coast Guard helicopter and were transported to Petersburg for medical care. They were then transferred to Seattle via a C-130 Hercules aircraft from Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak for a higher level of care. The watchstanders received notification of the crash at approximately 11:05 p.m. from the fishing vessel Lydia Marie, who was initially receiving search and rescue assistance from the aircrew due to flooding on their vessel.”
“Our priority is to provide the highest level of care possible for our injured members and their families,” said Rear Adm. Megan Dean, commander of the Coast Guard’s 17th District in a statement. “We are grateful for the swift response and professional skill shown by the Alaska Wildlife Troopers and Petersburg Fire and Rescue members who answered our call for assistance during this critical time. We have opened an investigation into the cause of this event and will be forthcoming with the results as they become available.”