US aircraft carrier responds to distress call near Hawaiian island
US Navy aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) has rescued five mariners stranded in shallow water near Hawaii’s Niihau island.
The five mariners issued a distress call from their 36-foot vessel on July 27.
Two MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopters assigned to the “Black Knights” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 4 airlifted the mariners from their vessel to shore at approximately 8:30 a.m. local time.
Carl Vinson was operating seven miles from the vessel when bridge watchstanders heard the distress call and offered assistance. HSC-4 transported four of the mariners to a US Coast Guard facility on the island of Kauai. The fifth mariner was flown to a local medical facility for evaluation.
“We were ready,” said Capt. Matt Paradise, Carl Vinson’s commanding officer. “When nearby mariners needed assistance, we stepped up immediately and helped. That is what we are trained to do, and I’m proud of our team.”
A Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point and a 45-foot response boat-medium crew from Coast Guard Station Kauai deployed to assess the scene. The Coast Guard is working to determine the best way to refloat the vessel.
Carl Vinson was taking part in training missions in the Pacific Ocean as part of the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise at the time of the rescue. The carrier supports more than 5,000 sailors and 70 aircraft from Carrier Air Wing 2. Carl Vinson also serves as the flagship for Commander, Carrier Strike Group 1.
Australians aid demasted vessel
In a separate development, the crew of Royal Australian Navy frigate HMAS Toowoomba (FFH 156) – which is also participating in RIMPAC drills – responded to a distress call from the crew of a demasted sailing vessel off Makapu’u Point on Saturday.
Toowoomba (FFH 156) was operating 5-miles north of the disabled vessel and diverted to render assistance.
Once on scene, the ship launched a three-person rescue and response team who were able to assist the sloop’s crew in getting the vessel’s mast out of the water and preparing the vessel for a tow. The US Coast Guard subsequently arrived on the scene, put the vessel in tow, and proceeded to bring it back to Oahu.