Urbana native helps rescue people from sinking fishing boat

URBANA — An Urbana native was the pilot of a Coast Guard plane that helped rescue four crew members on a Seattle-based fishing boat when the boat sank in the Gulf of Alaska on Tuesday.

Capt. William Deal, formerly of Urbana, flew an HC-130 Hercules aircraft to the scene, according to Coast Guard Petty Officer 1st Class David Mosley.

While one of the crew members on the fishing boat died, two others remained in the hospital on Wednesday night and a fourth crew member had been released from the hospital, Mosley said.

The Coast Guard’s communication station in Kodiak, Alaska, where Deal is based, received a radio distress call about 5:30 p.m. Tuesday from a crew member on the 75-foot Northern Belle, reporting that the boat was sinking about 50 miles south of Montague Island, which is near the mouth of Prince William Sound, and that all four people aboard were abandoning ship, Mosley said.

After receiving the mayday call, the Coast Guard deployed the HC-130 Hercules with Deal in the pilot’s seat, along with an MH-60 Jayhawk rescue helicopter to the scene of the sinking fishing boat.

According to the Coast Guard, the Hercules arrived at the scene at approximately 7:30 p.m. Deal found the crew in the water, Mosley said.

The crew on the aircraft dropped a life raft to the four people from the boat. The helicopter arrived by 8 p.m., he said.

Mosley said the helicopter began pulling the boat crew out of the water about 8 p.m. and finished within about 40 minutes. The crew arrived in Cordova, Alaska, about 9:20 p.m. and were taken to a hospital.

One of the four crewmen was later transferred to Providence Medical Center in Anchorage, Mosley said.

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