PACIFIC OCEAN (NNS) -- Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) rescued five mariners in distress July 27 near Hawaii's westernmost inhabited island.
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.
Carl Vinson was operating seven miles from the vessel when bridge watchstanders heard the distress call and offered assistance. HSC-4 transported four of the mariners 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."
A Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point and a 45-foot Response Boat-Medium crew from Coast Guard Station Kauai deployed to assess the scene. The Coast Guard is working to determine the best way to refloat the vessel.
"This case illustrates the partnerships we enjoy in Hawaii as the Navy was quick to respond and get this mariner to a higher level of medical care," said Ensign Seth Gross, command duty officer with Coast Guard Sector Honolulu. "The Coast Guard's role now is to assess the vessel and work with the owner as available to mitigate any impact to the environment from the fuel and batteries aboard."
Carl Vinson is conducting training missions in the Pacific Ocean as part of the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise. The carrier supports more than 5,000 Sailors and 70 aircraft from Carrier Air Wing 2. Carl Vinson also serves as the flagship for Commander, Carrier Strike Group 1.
RIMPAC is the world's largest international maritime exercise and offers a uniquely complex and challenging multinational environment for forces to hone their skills. Participants this year include more than 25,000 personnel from 25 nations.