San Diego Ship Rescues 65 on Rafts Near Indonesia

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People on bamboo rafts wait to be rescued by sailors and Marines aboard the dock landing ship USS Rushmore in the Pacific Ocean. Navy photo

The San Diego-based dock landing ship USS Rushmore rescued 65 people on makeshift bamboo rafts in the waters between the Indonesian islands of Kalimantan and Sulawesi on Wednesday.

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Shipboard lookouts spotted the peoples waving orange and white flags. Rushmore’s commanding officer, Cmdr. Thomas Stephens, ordered the launch of a small boat with two search and rescue swimmers to provide assistance. Rushmore Sailors discovered 65 people on sinking bamboo rafts tied together with no means of propulsion, food or water.

A sailor offer water to a rescued woman. Navy photo

Sailors and Marines brought all 65 people on board the Rushmore for medical attention and will coordinate with local officials for their well-being.

“This is an example of the Essex Amphibious Ready Group‘s professional maritime skill and ability to be where it matters, when it matters to offer assistance,” said Capt. Clint Carroll, commander of the group.

The Rushmore was transiting the Makassar Strait after having just completed a port visit to Manado, Indonesia, and was en route to the Arabian Gulf for a routine deployment.

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