Man in emergency life raft rescued off Grays Harbor

A man in an emergency life raft was rescued by the Coast Guard Saturday off Grays Harbor after his vessel took on water and sank Friday.

On Friday at about 11:39 a.m., the Coast Guard received an emergency alert from a fishing vessel named Ruby Lily approximately 132 miles from Grays Harbor and rescue crews responded.

A U.S. Navy P-8A Poseidon in the area of the vessel also responded and reported that a man was aboard the life raft. The man aboard told them he was safe with food and water.

Not long after the Navy vessel left, a good Samaritan on a vessel in the area offered to help the man but he refused the help, officials said.

At about 1:46 p.m., a rescue helicopter arrived and a rescue swimmer was hoisted down to help the man and he reportedly refused to be hoisted up and insisted on a surface rescue.

At 9:31 p.m., the Coast Guard deployed an HC-27J Spartan to keep an eye on the life raft, but it was not until 2:36 a.m. when the vessel Blue Shark arrived and took the man, who was in a stable condition, to Westport.

The man told rescuers that his vessel, Ruby Lily, had taken on water and completely sunk.

“This case was a success because the mariner had a registered beacon, and it was activated, allowing crews to get on scene quick,” said Scott Giard, the Coast Guard 13th District Search and Rescue Program Manager. “In this case, the subject was further offshore, so VHF-FM radio and cell phone coverage is scarce or scant. Reporting distress early gives rescue crews valuable time to get on scene fast, every second counts during any search and rescue case. This mariner’s EPIRB saved his life. Having a registered beacon can be the difference between locating a person in distress within minutes or days.”