ANDERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Guam - An MH-60S, an armed helicopter with a secondary mission of search and rescue, with the Island Knights of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 25 assisted in the recovery of two persons in distress 13 miles northwest of the Northern Mariana island of Tinian, June 18.
The MH-60S Sea Hawk was able to locate and relay the position of the distressed personnel to the U.S. Coast Guard Sector Guam command center, which was able to coordinate with the Fire Division of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) Department of Public Safety (DPS) to recover the personnel.
“It means a great deal to be able to help save life. You can’t put into words the feeling of helping two people make sure they get ashore safely and see their families,” said Lt. Amanda Lowery, aircraft commander of the HSC-25 aircraft that responded to the search and rescue. “A lot of credit goes to Coast Guard Sector Guam who were able to give us the search data to locate the vessel in distress.”
The HSC-25 aircraft was launched at 9:35 p.m. local on June 18 in response to an emergency call received by the U.S. Coast Guard Sector Guam over the Coast Guard's Rescue 21 communications system.
At 10:19 p.m., the HSC-25 aircraft arrived on scene of the last known position of the vessel and then commenced its first leg of search as directed by the U.S. Coast Guard Sector Guam.
At approximately 10:30 p.m., the HSC-25 aircraft spotted the capsized vessel and the two personnel. The aircraft marked the location by hovering overhead, and passed the information to Coast Guard Sector Guam.
Soon after passing the position, a rescue boat with the Fire Division based out of Saipan arrived and threw life rings to the personnel and the personnel swam to the rescue boat. The rescue boat safely recovered the personnel and brought them to Saipan.
The HSC-25 aircraft returned to Anderson Air Force Base after the personnel were safely on the rescue boat.