(Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class John D. Pharr III
Members of the 129th Rescue Wing California Air National Guard assist in the rescue operations of two injured fisherman who were approximately 1400 miles off the coast of Acapulco, Mexico on Sept. 5, 2012. (Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class John D. Pharr III)
The Mountain View-based California Air National Guardsmen and the U.S. Coast Guard have rescued two fishermen about 1,400 miles off the coast of Acapulco, Mexico.
In a release issued Thursday, members of the 129th Rescue Wing said their unit were contacted Sunday by an Air Force center in Florida, saying there was an injured fishermen suffering severe abdominal pain aboard the "Mirelur," an Ecuadorian fishing vessel.
On Monday, an MC-130P Combat Shadow airplane and two HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopters from the 129th RQW took off from Moffett Federal Airfield headed for for Mexico, according to the National Guard.
There, the 129th RQW pararescuemen - highly trained special operations medical personnel - parachuted into the Pacific Ocean before boarding the fishing boat. Once on board, the pararescuemen learned that another fisherman required medical treatment. Both fishermen were treated.
On Tuesday, the pararescuemen and patients were transferred from the Mirelur to a U.S. Coast Guard cutter sailing toward the coast of Mexico. The patients continued to receive medical treatment from the pararescuemen and medical staff.
On Wednesday, the two HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopters, accompanied by two MC-130P Combat Shadow airplanes, flew to the rescue boat in the Pacific Ocean. The two injured fishermen and four pararescuemen were hoisted off the cutter and flown to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. After landing, the fishermen were transferred to an ambulance and taken to a local hospital for further treatment.
"This mission demonstrates the adaptability of the Air National Guard to fight wildfires in California one moment, and then save the lives of civilians in the Pacific the next," Col. Steven J. Butow, 129th RQW commander, said in a statement. "I am extremely proud of our airmen and their selfless efforts to save the lives of these fishermen."
This rescue brings the total number of people saved by the 129th RQW to 953.
The primary mission of the 129th RQW is to conduct its wartime search-and-rescue duties anywhere in the world. In addition to its combat mission, the unit also works closely with the Coast Guard and other civil agencies on domestic civil-response missions throughout the year. Equipped with Combat Shadow aircraft and Pave Hawk rescue helicopters, the 129th RQW has performed a wide variety of civilian search-and-rescue missions, including responding to distressed persons aboard ships, lost or injured hikers, and conducting medical evacuations during natural disasters.