Mon, Dec 13, 2004
Lost In Helo Accident During Heavy Weather
It's over -- the search for six people missing since Thursday
when a US Coast Guard HH-60 Jayhawk went down in the Bering Sea
near the Alaskan coast.
"There is little hope that any survivor will be found," said
Rear Adm. James Olson, commander of the Coast Guard in Alaska.
Sources familiar with the effort to rescue crew members of the
Malaysian freighter say the Jayhawk, which had already rescued 19
of the 26 crew members on board the stricken freighter, was slapped
into the water by huge wave as it plucked the remaining crew
members from the vessel.
Four people on board the helo -- three crew members and the
captain of the Motor Vessel Selendang Ayu -- were plucked from the
frigid seas by a helicopter from the USCG Cutter Alexander Healy,
which was nearby as part of the rescue effort. The freighter
subsequently ran aground in the Aleutians, not far from Dutch
Harbor. The vessel broke in two upon the rocks, spilling thousands
of gallons of bunker oil on the fragile shoreline.
The same weather that had hampered the attempt to get all
crewmembers off the freighter are now causing problems with the
effort to contain the spill.
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