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Commander, Naval Air Force Atlantic

U.S. 4th Fleet Patrol Aircraft Aids in Successful Search and Rescue Operation

by U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. Fourth Fleet Public Affairs Office
10 December 2020

Crewmembers assigned to the "Golden Eagles" of Patrol Squadron (VP) 9 assisted in the rescue of 18 mariners in distress, Dec. 4.

United States Coast Guard District 11 received an alert from an emergency position-indicating radio beacon from an unknown vessel north of the Galapagos Islands and a P-8A Poseidon aircraft from VP-9 was dispatched to aid in the Search and Rescue (SAR) efforts.

Upon receiving the request for aerial support, the aircrew launched from El Salvador and proceeded to the last known beacon location.  The crew located the capsized vessel with an inflatable life raft in tow.

The crew was able to vector in a nearby tanker, the Hai Soon 26, via VHF radio, who was willing to render assistance to the distressed mariners.  The P-8A remained on station until the Hai Soon 26 arrived and the 18 mariners were safely transferred aboard the tanker. 

“We were extremely happy to have contributed to the success of this rescue mission,” said Lt. Cmdr. Brandon Collins, Mission Commander. “Knowing we played an integral role in returning 18 men to their families after an unfortunate day at sea is one of the most rewarding aspects of the work we do here in 4th Fleet.”

U.S. and coalition forces have a long-standing tradition of helping mariners in distress by providing medical assistance, engineering assistance and search and rescue efforts.

The "Golden Eagles," stationed in Whidbey Island, Washington, are currently deployed to Command Security Location (CSL), Comalapa, El Salvador, conducting  Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance missions and supporting enhanced counter narcotics operations in the  U.S. 4th Fleet area of operations.

U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. 4th Fleet supports U.S. Southern Command’s joint and combined military operations by employing maritime forces in cooperative maritime security operations to maintain access, enhance interoperability, and build enduring partnerships in order to enhance regional security and promote peace, stability and prosperity in the Caribbean, Central and South American region.

Learn more about USNAVSO/U.S. 4th Fleet at and @NAVSOUS4THFLT

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