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5 Rescued in 20 ft seas

U.S. and Canadian Coast Guard crews are working together to ensure five people abroad a 43-foot sailing vessel that was taking on water over 200 miles off the Washington Coast in 20-foot seas and 30-mph winds, Thursday sail safely to Tillamook.

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Puget Sound received the initial report from Marine Communications and Traffic Services personnel in Prince Rupert at 5:35 p.m., Wednesday, of the 43-foot sailing vessel Miles taking on water 218 miles west of La Push, Washington.

The electrical pump onboard the sailing vessel was unable to keep up with the flooding. The people aboard used buckets to manually dewater and requested a dewatering pump to assist. Two MH-60 Jayhawk aircrews from Coast Guard Air Station Astoria in Warrenton, Oregon, launched in response and an HC-27J Medium Range Surveillance aircrew from Coast Guard Air Station Sacremento, California, launched to provide cover for the Jayhawk crews.

The first Jayhawk aircrew arrived on scene around 8 p.m. and made radio contact with the crew of the sailing vessel, who declined being hoisted off their boat. Once the pump was confirmed working, both Jayhawk aircrews left to return to Air Station Astoria to refuel as MCTS Prince Rupert personnel maintained radio communication with the sailing vessel crew.

The crew of the 52-foot Motor Life Boat Invincible, from U.S. Coast Guard Station Grays Harbor in Westport, was also launched to meet the vessel but returned after reports flooding was under control. A CC-115 Buffalo aircrew from the Canadian Seal Cove coast guard base in Prince Rupert, British Columbia, is providing aerial surveillance over the sailing vessel.

Survival gear reported aboard the vessel were an emergency position indicating radio beacon, flares and a 10-person life raft.

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