The Coast Guard, in collaboration with the Rescue Coordination Center Fiji and the merchant vessel Natinteraoi, successfully rescued three overdue mariners who had been missing for over 80 hours. The mariners were located 63 nautical miles west of Abaiang Island, thanks to the deployment of a Hercules HC-130 from Air Station Barbers Point.
The Coast Guard aircrew searched for the overdue mariners over an area of 5,600 square nautical miles, approximately the size of the State of Connecticut. The survivors were located within 40 minutes of arriving at the search area and were safely recovered by the Natinteraoi.
Joint Rescue Coordination Center Honolulu received notification of the missing 17-foot wooden boat on Sunday. The boat had three men on board and departed from Nawerewere Village, Tarawa, en route to the west of Abaiang Island to fish. The Joint Rescue Coordination Center worked together with their international partners to locate the mariners.
“This is a compelling story of surviving at sea,” said Capt. Craig O’Brien, the chief of response for Coast Guard District 14. “It is an honor for the United States Coast Guard, who has been executing search and rescue in this region for over fifty years, to help bring these men home to their families.”
Admiral Michael Day, the SAR Coordinator, expressed gratitude for the collaboration between the Coast Guard and its international partners. He stated, “The U.S. Coast Guard is world renowned for our professionalism and this was a testament to the international Maritime Search and Rescue system. I’m thankful we were able to support the people of Kiribati in locating their loved ones.”
News Source: United States Coast Guard News (Department of Homeland Security)