Coast Guard swimmer completes triathlon-distance swim to rescue four Oregon fishermen

Darren Harrity completed triathlon-distance swim to rescue fishermen

The 52-foot commercial fishing vessel Jamie K sits aground near Cape Blanco, Ore., July 21, 2015. Petty Officer 2nd Class Darren Harrity, a rescue swimmer and member of the responding MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station North Bend, Ore., pulled all four fishermen to safety through 5-foot seas and 30-mph winds. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Air Station North Bend)

CAPE BLANCO, Ore. (KOIN) — A 27-year-old Coast Guard rescue swimmer swam 1,750 yards in 5-foot seas and 30 mph winds to rescue 4 people aboard a commercial fishing vessel Tuesday morning.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Darren Harrity from Jupiter, Florida pulled each of the fishermen more than 250 yards in 57 degree water, the Coast Guard said in a release. Once they reached shore, the 4 people were met by EMS.

The 52-foot commercial fishing vessel Jamie K sits aground near Cape Blanco, Ore., July 21, 2015. (U.S. Coast Guard by Air Station North Bend)
The 52-foot commercial fishing vessel Jamie K sits aground near Cape Blanco, Ore., July 21, 2015. (U.S. Coast Guard by Air Station North Bend)

Around 1:40 a.m., watchstanders received a report indicating the 52-foot commercial fishing vessel was taking on water and had lost power. The boat ran aground, at which time the crew put on survival suits and abandoned ship into a life raft.

Shortly before 3 a.m., Harrity was lowered into the water from a rescue helicopter. The MH-65 Dolphin helicopter reportedly experienced mechanical issues and was unable to complete additional hoists, Coast Guard officials said.

The aircrew remained on scene until Harrity swam each of the 4 fisherman to shore individually.

“This was a tremendous team effort that demonstrates the strength and importance of the Coast Guard’s rescue swimmer program,” Cmdr. Robert Workman said in a release. “Petty Officer Darren Harrity did a fantastic job pulling four fishermen, each in full survival suits, to shore through waves, surf and darkness.”

The fishing vessel reportedly carried 3,000 gallons of diesel and 10,000 pounds of shrimp.

The incident is currently under investigation.

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