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Crew of local boat rescued

Survivors of the fishing vessel Kellan A and the Coast Guard crew of an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter discuss the rescue after returning to Arcata Airport on Friday afternoon.
Survivors of the fishing vessel Kellan A and the Coast Guard crew of an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter discuss the rescue after returning to Arcata Airport on Friday afternoon. Photo courtesy U.S. Coast Guard
Good equipment onboard a Crescent City fishing vessel helped speed up the rescue of its crew members on Friday afternoon, a Coast Guard officer said.

Coast Guard Sector Humboldt Bay received a garbled mayday call from the 47-foot fishing vessel Kellan A, which was taking on water in 8- to 12-foot seas and 20-knot winds 35 miles west of Punta Gorda, according to a Coast Guard press release. 

The boat, which is registered in Crescent City, had been taking on water since Thursday night, Coast Guard public affairs officer Lt. Brian Ward said.

Shortly after making the mayday call, both crew members donned survival suits and evacuated to a life raft, the Coast Guard said. 

Less than 30 minutes after the mayday call, Sector Humboldt Bay launched an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter from the Arcata Airport, as well as two 47-foot motor life boats from Coast Guard stations Humboldt Bay and Noyo River, the Coast Guard said.

The helicopter arrived on scene by 3:30 p.m., having detected and homed in on the two survivors’ 406 Mhz Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon signal, which sends a signal with the vessel’s position to emergency services via satellite, the Coast Guard said. 

“We had a good position on it fairly quickly,” said Ward, who is also a helicopter pilot and flew on Friday’s rescue mission. “We were on scene within an hour of the mayday call, and that strictly was due just to having good equipment on their ship — all the proper survival equipment — and knowing how to use it.”

Coast Guard crew noted that the vessel was partially submerged and the two survivors were sheltered in a life raft. The helicopter entered a hover, deployed a rescue swimmer and hoisted aboard the two survivors, the Coast Guard said.

The survivors reported no injuries and declined medical attention when the helicopter returned to Arcata.

Names of the survivors were unavailable.

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