Two U.S. Coast Guard aircrews on Friday rescued 12 crewmembers from a capsized research vessel off the coast of Pensacola, Florida in the Gulf of Mexico.
The 8th Coast Guard District received a distress call from an EPIRB from the 170-foot R/V Seaprobe approximately 141 miles south of Pensacola. The Coast Guard says that a crewmember reported they were taking on water and unable to keep up with the flooding, which eventually forced the 12 crewmembers to abandon ship in three life rafts.
The Guard Guard dispatched an aircraft from Mobile, Ala., which arrived on scene and remained there until helicopter rescue crews arrived. The Coast Guard says that an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from Mobile airlifted five crewmembers while another Jayhawk crew from Clearwater, Fla., launched and hoisted the remaining seven. All crewmembers were accounted for.
“When we arrived on scene we saw the hull sticking out of the water, and about a mile away, 12 crewmembers were on three life rafts tied together; our rescue swimmer assisted five into the hoist basket,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Robert McDonald, ATC Mobile flight mechanic. “They were covered in diesel fuel and extremely cold, but every one of them was wearing a life jacket.”
The Seaprobe crewmembers were brought to ATC Mobile for medical treatment and EMS transported three with injuries to Providence Hospital in Mobile, while the remaining nine were reported as stable.
The Seaprobe was built as a supply boat in 1974 at Burton Shipyard in Port Arthur, TX.
The cause of the incident is under investigation.
gCaptain Forum Discussion: R/V Seaprobe Sinking