Gusts up to 100-miles-per-hour blew through Ketchikan on Sunday, accompanied by 3.27 inches of horizontal rain. The storm brought down tree limbs, toppled a bus shelter, sent garbage cans careening across streets and tripped a power outage north of town.
In the midst of all that, two men and their dog were rescued Sunday in Gem Cove, about 23 miles east of Ketchikan. According to U.S. Coast Guard spokeswoman, Petty Officer Sara Francis, the men reported that their joined vessels had hit some rocks and were taking on water.
“They were aboard two 39-foot vessels that are lashed together and have been used for a residence as opposed to actually fishing for the better part of five years,” she said.
The Coast Guard was notified of the case by the Canadian command center in Prince Rupert, British Columbia. The Coast Guard launched a response boat from Ketchikan, and eventually transferred the men and dog from the two converted trawlers.
“The initial vessel that arrived on scene was our 47-foot motor life boat. Due to the draft of that vessel and the conditions, they weren’t able to pull alongside of the two vessels, so we launched our 25-foot response boat, small, also from Station Ketchikan, that was actually able to get alongside and get the two men and their pet aboard,” Francis said.
The men were taken to Herring Bay where they were met by emergency medical services because one of the men reportedly was exhibiting heart attack symptoms.
Francis said the two trawlers still were afloat when the Coast Guard left the scene.
“They hadn’t sunk when our crews were on scene, and upon departing they were both still afloat,” she said. “The man who wasn’t having cardiac issues plans to take a skiff out and assess the vessels and communicate with the Coast Guard once the weather conditions in that area allow that to happen safely. There’s a very limited amount of heating oil aboard, so the pollution concern is very low, which is a good thing.”
At the time of the rescue, the wind was blowing at 35 miles per hour with gusts to nearly 60, and three-foot seas.