USS Bataan and USS Elrod (FFG 55) saved the passengers from their sinking small vessel. USS Bataan provided food, water, medical attention and temporary shelter before tranferring 277 to the Armed Forces of Malta patrol craft P61, and the remainder to hospital in Malta.
Elrod and Bataan received a report from an Italian military marine patrol aircraft that sighted six small vessels, one of which was sinking, at approximately 3 p.m., June 6, 2014.
Bataan launched two search and rescue MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopters to investigate. Once on scene, Bataan’s SAR helicopters confirmed a small vessel was sinking. The SAR helicopters then deployed the SAR swimmers to start extracting persons from the water.
Elrod deployed their 7-meter rigid hull inflatable boat; Bataan deployed their 11-meter Captain’s Gig and 7-meter RHIB to assist. 282 persons were recovered and brought on board Bataan.
USS Bataan, with elements of 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit, is operating in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations to augment U.S. crisis response forces in the region.