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Coast Guard, good Samaritans rescue crew from overturned Honolulu tuna boat

The Coast Guard and good Samaritans rescued six fishermen today from a tuna longliner reportedly sinking south of Hawaii island.

About 7:20 a.m. today, a crew member from the 57-foot fishing vessel Jane, homeported in Honolulu, sent a mayday call via satellite phone to the Coast Guard, saying the boat was taking on water about 110 miles southeast of the Big Island, the Coast Guard said.

The Coast Guard requested the assistance of a 70-foot fishing vessel, VAK 2, another tuna longliner homeported in Honolulu, which was five miles away from the scene, and dispatched an HC-130 Hercules aircrew, an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter, and the cutter Kittiwake.

The HC-130 aircrew arrived first about 9:40 a.m. and spotted the fishing boat overturned with its six crew members inside a life raft 100 yards away.

The VAK 2 crew picked up the distressed crew and headed back to Hawaii, where they were to be met by emergency medical personnel and U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

“We appreciate the assistance of the good Samaritans aboard the VAK 2 to quickly get these mariners to safety,” said Chief Petty Officer Robert Scott, command duty officer Coast Guard Sector Honolulu.

Weather was rough on scene with 14-foot seas, 34 mph winds, and scattered thunderstorms, the Coast Guard said.

A Coast Guard spokeswoman said the owner of the vessel will be responsible for salvaging it.

The cause of the incident is under investigation.

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