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2 Chinese sailors die, 2 hurt in Pacific

By Star-Advertiser Staff

LAST UPDATED: 04:15 a.m. HST, May 05, 2014

PHOENIX >> Two Chinese sailors died and six are believed to be missing after their boat sank in the Pacific Ocean, an official at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base said Sunday.

Maj. Sarah Schwennesen said that a Venezuelan fishing boat reported finding 11 sailors floating in a raft Friday afternoon.

She said the Venezuelan crew said four sailors were badly burned. Two later died of their injuries.

Airmen from the 563rd Rescue Group parachuted into the water Saturday afternoon and used inflatable boats to reach the Venezuelan vessel, which is 1,100 nautical miles west of Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, Schwennesen said. They treated the injured sailors Saturday and into Sunday morning.

The rescuers treated the sailors, who will be hoisted, along with the U.S. airmen, onto three helicopters Sunday and flown to Cabo San Lucas. The injured pair will then be taken in a different aircraft to a burn unit in San Diego, accompanied by the airmen giving them care.

The distance required to reach the sailors has been the most challenging, Schwennesen said. Because of an estimated six-hour flight that included flying over miles of ocean, a refueling aircraft was dispatched from the Arizona Air National Guard in Phoenix.

"The assistance of refueling by the 161st out of Phoenix was critical in providing faster care," Schwennesen said. "They could refuel over the Pacific Ocean rather than fly down to Mexico first."

The Venezuelan boat had sent out a request for help around 5 p.m. Friday, and it was received by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center.

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localguy wrote:
One would hope China would extend the same support to any other country's fishermen in a similar situation. That is if they have the capacity and trained personnel.
on May 4,2014 | 11:39AM
HawaiiCheeseBall wrote:
No matter if they do or don't. We're Americans. We help people in need, its just what we do.
on May 4,2014 | 12:14PM
krusha wrote:
Yep, other countries such as China are quick to bash the United States, but are slow to praise when they need their help in situations such as this. No other country probably has the capability to respond so quickly in situations that require immediate response to save lives.
on May 4,2014 | 05:58PM
hunebasami wrote:
We are the best . Lots of people hate us but we are the best people in the world when it comes to helping others. And some of us us are Chinese but American. This country changes all the races thinking.
on May 4,2014 | 07:43PM
iwanaknow wrote:
It gives our Military real life training........kudo's to all.
on May 4,2014 | 06:44PM
sailfish1 wrote:
Why couldn't the Mexican navy help the Venezuelan ship? Don't they have sea rescue units? Is the U.S. the world's police force and rescue service too?
on May 4,2014 | 08:27PM
honokai wrote:
The rescue was in international waters and had nothing to do with Mexico. The ship was almost equidistant from the US. It also was not a naval operation. The U.S. air force was sent. I get the impression that you want to hate on people for no reason. You should do something about this because it is not healthy.
on May 4,2014 | 08:56PM
2disgusted2 wrote:
What is wrong w the Pacific! It has become an angry sea. Maybe we need to give it more fliwers and coconuts and sugar
on May 4,2014 | 09:02PM
Hotel wrote:
Only idiots disclose the maximum capabilities of any US military system. My unit, 129 ARS, CA ANG, flew HH-3Es 3,900 miles to save ONE ChiCom sailor. Nine refuelings. We never applied for a FAI record. The deal is we were a Special Operations unit, not just rescue. The guys in the back could be anybody. Ssssh.
on May 4,2014 | 11:39PM
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