Coast Guard rescues 12 people off Gulf Coast

12 people found after 170-foot research ship capsizes 141 miles off Pensacola coast

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Pensacola, Florida - Two Coast Guard aircrews rescued 12 crew members from a capsized 170-foot research ship approximately 141 miles south of Pensacola on Friday morning.

Watch standers for the 8th Coast Guard District received a distress call from an emergency position indicating radio beacon from the Seaprobe. A crew member reported they were taking on water and were unable to keep up with the flooding. The 12 crew members abandoned ship and boarded three life rafts.

An HC-144 Ocean Sentry crew from Coast Guard Aviation Training Center Mobile, Ala., arrived on scene and remained there until helicopter rescue crews arrived.

An MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from ATC Mobile airlifted five crew members and another Jayhawk crew from Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater, Fla., launched and hoisted seven crewmembers. The two aircrews brought all of the Seaprobe crew members to ATC Mobile to await emergency medical services.

"When we arrived on scene we saw the hull sticking out of the water, and about a mile away, 12 crew members were on three life rafts tied together; our rescue swimmer assisted five into the hoist basket," said Petty Officer 2nd Class Robert McDonald, ATC Mobile flight mechanic. "They were covered in diesel fuel and extremely cold, but every one of them was wearing a life jacket."

EMS transported three crew members with medical concerns to the Providence Hospital in Mobile, while the remaining nine were reported as stable.

The cause of the incident is under investigation.

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