A Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter air crew from Air Station Sitka crashed with four people aboard on Read Island during a search and rescue mission late Monday night. The crash took place while the helicopter crew was assisting a vessel that had taken on water.
Rescue crews from Alaska Wildlife Troopers and Petersburg Fire and Rescue arrived on scene at approximately 12:50 a.m., and a second MH-60 Jayhawk air crew from Air Station Sitka arrived at approximately 1:39 a.m. Together, they provided preliminary medical care to two crew members who were reported to have sustained serious injuries.
The four crew members were hoisted aboard the second Coast Guard helicopter and were transported to Petersburg for medical care. They were then transferred to Seattle via a C-130 Hercules aircraft from Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak for a higher level of care.
The watchstanders received notification of the crash at approximately 11:05 p.m. from the fishing vessel Lydia Marie, who was initially receiving search and rescue assistance from the aircrew due to flooding on their vessel.
“Our priority is to provide the highest level of care possible for our injured members and their families,” said Rear Adm. Megan Dean, commander of the Coast Guard’s 17th District. “We are grateful for the swift response and professional skill shown by the Alaska Wildlife Troopers and Petersburg Fire and Rescue members who answered our call for assistance during this critical time. We have opened an investigation into the cause of this event and will be forthcoming with the results as they become available.”
The U.S. Coast Guard Cutters Elderberry (WLI-65401) and Douglas Denman (WPC 1149) crews assumed responsibility for providing search and rescue assistance to the Lydia Marie and have established a security zone around the crash site.
The cause of the crash is currently under investigation.