US Coast Guard crews responded to a fishing vessel crew who abandoned ship in the early morning hours June 29. The vessel had struck the south jetty in the Siuslaw River Bar and was beginning to take on water.
Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector North Bend received a distress call from the captain of fishing vessel Aquarius stating all crew members were abandoning ship.
Shortly after, the 13th District command center received a signal from the vessels Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB).
An MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Facility Newport launched and arrived on scene, while rescue crews from Coast Guard Station Siuslaw River and Coast Guard Station Umpqua River were also underway to assist with the search.
Siuslaw Valley Fire Rescue and Western Lane Ambulance, along with members from Station Siuslaw River searched from shore.
One responsive individual was located and rescued near the shoreline. He was able to confirm that two others were onboard the vessel with him when it sank.
The helicopter crew located a second unresponsive person and hoisted them into the aircraft. They were brought to awaiting EMS at Florence Municipal Airport.
At approximately 7 a.m., the final person was located. With the assistance of the helicopter rescue swimmer, the unresponsive individual was brought aboard the Station Siuslaw River boat and then brought to awaiting EMS.
Senior Chief Petty Officer Jay Nilles, Officer-in-Charge of Station Siuslaw River, commented:
Without today’s technology of VHF-FM radio communications and an EPIRB, we would not have been able to quickly locate the scene of distress, followed by the location of survivors and victims. This highlights the need for life-saving equipment on our commercial fishing fleet as we continue our mission to make commercial fishing safer for everyone