The U.S. Coast Guard rescued three people after their commercial crab fishing boat lost propulsion and struck a jetty while attempting to transit through the entrance channel in northern California’s Humboldt Bay on Sunday.
Coast Guard Sector Humboldt Bay watchstanders received the distress call on VHF-FM channel 16 at approximately 6:20 p.m., reporting that the fishing vessel Sunup had propulsion problems and was on the south jetty rocks inside the channel.
Watchstanders dispatched a 47-foot Motor Life Boat crew and a MH-65 Dolphin helicopter to respond. The Motor Life Boat crew arrived on scene at approximately 6:30 p.m. finding the Sunup mostly underwater. Fortunately, the crew retrieved two of the fishermen directly from the sinking boat and pulled the third fisherman from the water.
The three survivors were brought to Station Humboldt Bay with no reported medical concerns.
The Coast Guard says the mariners use of VHF Channel 16 and an emergency position-indicating radio beacon (EPIRB) allowed rescue crews to quickly receive the distress call and pinpoint their location.
“The situation became grave when the third fisherman fell into the water with the other two clinging to the sinking vessel,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Ruben Colon, the rescue boat coxswain. “Without a doubt, staying with their vessel until the last minute enabled us to quickly find and rescue them.”
In 2014, four fisherman were killed when their 32-foot fishing boat capsized near Bodega Bay on opening day of dungeness crab season in California.
Sign up for our newsletter