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Airman 1st Class John Pharr
An HH-60G Pave Hawk rescue helicopter from the 129th Rescue Wing hovers over the Chinese fishing vessel Fu Yuan Yu #871, March 12, 2012.
UPDATE: The 129th successfully got the injured men off the boat and to a medical facility. Mission accomplished! The photo above is from the rescue. There is YouTube video of the rescue at the bottom of this story.
California Air National Guardsmen out of Moffett Field had a busy weekend helping rescue burn victims who were hurt 700 miles off the coast of Mexico.
A group of men and women from the 129th Rescue Wing answered the call for help and took off early Sunday morning on a emergency mission that began on their Mountain View runway.
The massive effort brought needed medical assistance to two fishermen who were badly burned while on board a Chinese vessel off the coast of Acapulco.
The primary mission of the 129th Rescue Wing is to conduct combat search and rescue missions during wartime, but it also uses its training and equipment to help anyone in need up and down the coast.
After the 129th arrived on the scene late Sunday, two members parachuted off an MC-130P Combat Shadow aircraft into the Pacific Ocean.
They also brought along an inflatable Zodiac boat which was filled with medical supplies. The Zodiac maneuvered to the Chinese vessel and the two para-jumpers boarded to begin treating the injured men.
The next step came Monday when two Air National Guard HH-60G Pave Hawk rescue helicopters will arrive at the boat and hoist the pararescuemen and fishermen off the vessel onto helicopters hovering above.
The fishermen will ultimately be brought to San Diego for further treatment, according to the 129th. They should arrive at the hospital by Monday night.
“The 129th Rescue Wing provides great value to California and the nation by responding to rescues beyond the capability of other first responders,” said Col. Steven J. Butow, 129th Rescue wing commander. “This remains a complex and dangerous rescue mission, but our dedicated Airmen remain committed to helping these fishermen.”
The 129th is credited for rescuing close to 1,000 distressed people.