Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Heroics At Sea

Posted By on Wed, Nov 25, 2009 at 4:14 PM


5:36 p.m.: The fishing vessel Scomas radios the Coast Guard at the Humboldt Bay station to say it's sinking off Punta Gorda. The Coast Guard launches a rescue boat and a helicopter.

6:20 p.m.: The helicopter arrives to find that the fishing vessel Midori is towing the waterlogged Scomas out of shallow water.

2:04 a.m.: After much pumping (requiring delivery of more pumps by heli) with help from the good crew of the Midori and the C.G rescuers, and a long tow through the dark night, the Scomas is safely moored at Woodley Island.

Read the exciting blow-by-blow report after the jump:

DATE: November 25, 2009 14:09:48 PST
Document Number: 2702
Coast Guard responds to a sinking fishing vessel
United States Coast Guard     Eleventh Coast Guard DistrictEleventh Coast Guard District logo

Coast Guard responds to a sinking vessel


MCKINLEYVILLE, Calif. - U.S. Coast Guard Group Humboldt Bay received a report that a fishing vessel was sinking rapidly off of Punta Gorda, Calif. Tuesday evening.

The Coast Guard received a radio call from the fishing vessel Scomas at 5:36 p.m., saying that they were taking on water and sinking.

The Coast Guard launched a 47-foot motor lifeboat from Station Humboldt Bay and an MH-65C helicopter from Air Station Humboldt Bay.  The helicopter arrived on scene at 6:20 p.m., to find that the Scomas was being towed from shallow water by a Good Samaritan vessel, the fishing vessel Midori.  The two fishermen aboard the Scomas were unable to maintain radio communications with the Coast Guard.  However, the Midori was able to relay the position of the two vessels and keep the Coast Guard informed of the situation.

"The crew of the Midori is the real hero of last night," said Lt.j.g. Todd Vorenkamp, the co-pilot on the helicopter, "They took the Scomas under tow and got them into deeper water, possibly saving the lives of two men.  As a sailboat owner, it is great to know that there are boats like the Midori out there watching out for others."

The helicopter lowered its Rescue Swimmer, Petty Officer 1st Class James Force, to the deck of the Scomas and, once Force was safely on board, the helicopter lowered a portable dewatering pump to the Scomas where he assisted the crew in unpacking the pump and beginning the dewatering.

Force radioed the helicopter and told them that another pump may be needed.  The 47-foot motor lifeboat from Station Humboldt Bay was less than 20 minutes away and was carrying two pumps.  The aircraft returned to Arcata Airport to refuel and load an additional dewatering pump.

At 7:20 p.m., the motor lifeboat arrived on scene and relieved the fishing vessel Midori of the tow.

The helicopter returned to the scene at 8:20 p.m., with the intention of retrieving the rescue swimmer.  Force said that although the flooding was stabilized, he did not feel comfortable leaving the crew of two to continue to stem the flooding while the vessel was being towed by the motor lifeboat.

The aircraft returned to Arcata Airport while the motor lifeboat continued towing the Scomas to Humboldt Bay.  The Scomas was successfully moored at Woodley Island Marina at 2:04 a.m. and the crew of the 47-foot motor lifeboat returned to Station Humboldt Bay.


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Heidi Walters

Heidi Walters worked as a staff writer at the North Coast Journal from 2005 to 2015.

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