KODIAK, Alaska (KTRE) - A Nacogdoches man was part of a Coast Guard crew which rescued a 28-member crew of a fishing vessel which caught fire 900 miles southwest of Honolulu.
The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Alex Haley transferred the survivors of the Taiwanese fishing vessel Hou Chun 11 into an awaiting small outrigger to be taken ashore Wednesday about 6 p.m., Alaska Standard Time, to Christmas Island, Kiribati.
Charles Coulter, of Nacogdoches, is a machinery technician in the Coast Guard and a qualified cutter small boat engineer.
Two members of the Taiwanese crew who suffered severe burns in the vessel fire were the first to be transported off the cutter. A Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point HC-130 Hercules aircraft crew medevaced the two crewmen to Straub Clinic and Hospital in Honolulu for more advanced medical care. The remaining 26 survivors were assisted off the cutter and taken to shore where they will board another vessel to return to Taiwan.
The Fourteenth District command center watchstanders received a call from the Hou Chun 11 crew reporting a shipboard fire on their vessel and that they were abandoning the ship into their life rafts late Monday evening. Throughout the night Coast Guard and Navy aircrews monitored the life rafts 900 miles southwest of Honolulu. The crew of the cutter arrived on scene early Tuesday morning and rescued the 28 survivors using small boat crews. They were provided dry clothes, food and water and the injured were treated by the ship's corpsman.
The 283-foot cutter is homeported in Kodiak, Alaska, and was in Hawaii on a training mission and is scheduled to return to Kodiak sometime in February.