The U.S. Coast Guard was able to successfully rescue three fishermen and a dog thanks to the help of a couple of good samaritans.
The men had headed out for a day on the water on Monday, Dec. 12, but unexpected weather moved in and slammed their 45-foot vessel, the Privateer, and trapped them on rocks just off of Esther Island, which is near the town of Whittier.
Six-foot waves and 60-mph wind gusts kept the trio trapped, according to the Coast Guard. And because they had been washed aground, they could not steer back into the water and face the storm.
The men made an emergency distress call just before noon, and the Coast Guard sent a rescue helicopter and a plane from a base 418 miles away in Kodiak. Officials also blasted a plea for help to any boats that were near the Privateer at the time.
The situation was dire due to the freezing temperatures. The air was just above freezing, but the tropical-storm-force winds made it feel like only 12 degrees.
Three Civilian Ships Helped the Trapped Men While the Coast Guard Was on the Way
Despite the deadly weather, the men dressed in survival suits and were just about to abandon the ship to wait for help on the rocks when two good Samaritan boats and a Whittier Sea Tow vessel pulled alongside them.
The Samaritans attempted to pull the trapped boat off the rock, but they weren’t successful. Nevertheless, they offered enough assistance to keep the men safe while the Coast Guard made its way to help.
“Thankfully, the mariners were able to radio the Coast Guard and had the appropriate survival gear in case they needed to abandon their vessel,” Coast Guard Petty Officer Dante Corradi said in a statement.
Guardsmen airlifted the entire crew—dog included—to safety. Then they flew them to nearby medical facilities for evaluation.
“The helicopter crew hoisted the three men as well as a dog,” Corradi reported. “They were all stranded on rocks in high wind conditions and then all three survivors and the dog were then safely transported to emergency medical services in Anchorage.”
Doctors did not report any injuries, and the state of the boat is still unknown.
“It’s incredible these three men and the dog made it out okay, and the fact that multiple good Samaritans were ready to assist made a huge difference in the outcome of this rescue.”