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Coast Guard locates eight people in life raft 400 miles north of Hawaii Island

UPDATED (3:50 p.m. on 3/26/2018)


In a life raft the crew from the fishing vessel Princess Hawaii which sank over 400 miles northeast of Hawaii Island, March 25, 2018, is picked up by their sister ship the Commander. The Princess Hawaii reportedly had a captain, six crewmembers and an observer from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration aboard and was fishing within 20 miles of the Commander. (U.S. Coast Guard video)

HONOLULU — Eight men are safe after their 61-foot fishing vessel Princess Hawaii sank over 400 miles northeast of the Big Island, Sunday.

The crew of the 73-foot fishing vessel Commander successfully rescued all eight people from a life raft at approximately 10:54 p.m. The Commander is scheduled to arrive in Oahu, Friday.

No injuries were reported.

At 11:23 a.m., watchstanders at Coast Guard Joint Response Coordination Center Honolulu received an emergency position indicating radio beacon alert. Watchstanders called the registered owner who confirmed the vessel reportedly left early that morning to fish, but neither party was able to make contact with the ship.

An HC-130 Hercules aircrew from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point launched at 3 p.m. once the alert was confirmed and a search pattern was established. At 5:15 p.m., the aircrew sighted a flare and life raft. The aircrew reported they located the Princess Hawaii mostly submerged with only the stern above the waterline.

The aircrew dropped a VHF radio to the people on the life raft and confirmed all of the crew were accounted for and reportedly in good condition. They then established communication with the crew of the Commander to vector them in to recover the survivors.

The aircrew remained on scene until the Commander crew arrived to rescue the survivors.

The Princess Hawaii reportedly had a captain, six crewmembers and an observer from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration aboard and was fishing within 20 miles of its sister ship, the Commander.

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HONOLULU — A Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules aircrew from Air Station Barbers Point located a life raft with eight people aboard from the fishing vessel Princess Hawaii over 400 miles north of Hawaii Island, Sunday evening (March 25).

The Hercules crew will remain on scene as long as fuel is available and the crew of the commercial fishing vessel Commander is en route to pick up the crew.

The Princess Hawaii reportedly had a captain, six crewmembers and an observer from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration aboard and was fishing within 20 miles of its sister ship, the Commander.

“The Princess Hawaii was boarded by our cutter, Oliver Berry, this past February with no safety violations,” said, Lt. Tim Lae, command duty officer, Coast Guard Joint Rescue Coordination Center. “They used all their survival equipment correctly. Being prepared and in compliance with the law properly registering their Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon and necessary safety equipment saved these people’s lives and made it possible for rescue crews to find them.”

The Coast Guard Joint Response Coordination Center Honolulu received an emergency position indicating radio beacon alert with a position over 400 miles north of Hilo at 11:23 a.m. Watchstanders called the registered owner who confirmed the vessel had gone out early that morning to fish, but neither party was able to make contact with the ship.

The Hercules aircrew launched at 3 p.m. once the alert was confirmed and a search pattern was established. They sighted a flare and life raft shortly arriving on the scene. The aircrew reported the located the Princess Hawaii mostly submerged with only the stern above the waterline.

The Hercules crew dropped a VHF radio to the people on the life raft and confirmed all of the crew were accounted for and reportedly in good condition. They then established communication with the crew of the Commander and are vectoring them in to recover the survivors. The survivors have plenty of water, strobe lights, and flares.

Weather on scene is reported as 10-foot seas with 20 mph winds from the east.

The Princess Hawaii is an 89-foot commercial fishing vessel and part of the Hawaii-long line fleet. The Coast Guard is investigating the cause of the sinking. The vessel may present a hazard to navigation, and all mariners in the are reminded to keep a sharp lookout to avoid a collision.

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