US Coast Guard, partner agencies rescue seven people adrift for six days in Western Pacific

FSS Micronesia (Photo: US Coast Guard District 14 Hawaii Pacific)

The US Coast Guard, US Air Force, US Navy, Federated States of Micronesia National Police, and good Samaritans teamed to successfully rescue seven people who had been adrift on their five-metre vessel for six days during a joint rescue mission near the Mortlock Islands, Chuuk State, on Saturday, September 14.

The boaters, who had been missing since September 8, were located by a Navy Commander Task Force (CTF) 72 P-8 Poseidon aircrew, 194 bautical miles east northeast of Satawan Atoll and were then rescued by the crew of the patrol vessel FSS Micronesia. The rescued boaters were then brought to Pohnpei to meet emergency medical personnel for evaluation, reportedly arriving in good health despite having been adrift for 145 hours.

At 17:20 local time on Monday, September 15, Joint Rescue Sub-Center (JRSC) Guam watchstanders received a report from the Federated States of Micronesia Police stating four adults and three children were overdue while transiting 13 nautical miles from Lukunor Atoll to the Satawan Atoll.

The FSM National Police deployed their patrol boats to search while JRSC Guam watchstanders deployed an Air Station Barbers Point HC-130 Hercules from Hawaii and requested additional support from the navy and air force.
Good Samaritans from Caroline Island Air and the Bahamian-flagged 176-metre bulk carrier African Swan also volunteered to assist with searching for the missing boaters.

On Saturday afternoon, while executing a search plan developed by JSRC Guam watchstanders, the Poseidon aircrew successfully located the adrift vessel and vectored in FSS Micronesia, whose crew rescued all seven boaters.

The weather throughout the region was a challenge during this case with two-metre seas, strong winds, and frequent rain squalls.

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