The Coast Guard rescued eight people after their vessel sank in Kaiwi Channel, Molokai, Sunday.
Watchstanders at Joint Rescue Coordination Center Honolulu received an unregistered signal for possible persons in distress approximately 12 miles west of Molokai.
The JRCC launched an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point to search the area.
Shortly after the initial unregistered signal notification, watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Honolulu received a call from a father stating his son and seven others were in distress in the vicinity of the signal. SCC issued an Urgent Marine Information Broadcast to mariners in the area.
The father confirmed that the 21-foot recreational vessel his son was on had an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon that was activated after the vessel had sunk. They were able to tie three kayaks together and cling to it after the vessel sank.
A Coast Guard Auxiliary airplane crew was diverted and a 45-foot Response Boat-Medium crew from Coast Guard Station Honolulu was launched to the scene.
The Dolphin crew arrived on scene and safely hoisted four people in the helicopter then transported them to Sandy Beach Park where members from the Honolulu Fire Department were waiting to assist with the victims.
The Dolphin crew returned two more times to the scene to pick up the remaining people from the water.
All eight people were wearing their lifejackets. No injuries were reported.
“This case had the potential to quickly degrade but the immediate response from men and women of the Coast Guard ensured the swift recovery of all four children and four adults,” said Lt. Patrick Frain, a command duty officer at Coast Guard Sector Honolulu.
“Additionally the eight rescued people are all fairly experienced watermen and had adequately prepared by having lifejackets, an EPIRB and a VHF radio onboard, without that safety equipment the Coast Guard may not have been immediately alerted of their distress,” said Lt. Jessica Mickelson, a command duty officer at Sector Honolulu.