Helicopters from USS Carl Vinson Rescue 5 on Remote Niihua Island

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A helicopter from the USS Carl Vinson on the ground near the stricken boat. Navy photo

Helicopters from the San Diego-based aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson rescued five mariners in distress near Hawaii’s westernmost inhabited island.

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The mariners issued a distress call after their 36-foot vessel ran aground in shallow water near the island of Niihau.

Two MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopters assigned to the “Black Knights” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 4 airlifted the mariners from their vessel to shore at approximately 8:30 a.m. local time on Friday morning.

The Carl Vinson was operating seven miles from the vessel when bridge watchstanders heard the distress call and offered assistance. Four of the mariners were taken to a U.S. Coast Guard facility on the island of Kauai. The fifth mariner was flown to a local medical facility for evaluation.

“We were ready,” said Capt. Matt Paradise, Carl Vinson’s commanding officer. “When nearby mariners needed assistance, we stepped up immediately and helped. That is what we are trained to do, and I’m proud of our team.”

The Coast Guard is working to determine the best way to re-float the vessel.

The carrier is conducting training missions in the Pacific Ocean as part of the biennial Rim of the Pacific exercise.

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