2 injured in Coast Guard helicopter crash released from hospital

Nov. 15—The U.S. Coast Guard said two of four crew members injured in a helicopter crash near Petersburg during a search and rescue mission late Monday night have been released from the hospital.

The other two members, who were seriously injured, remained hospitalized at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle on Wednesday, but their condition had improved, said Lt. Cmdr. Michael Salerno, a public affairs officer for U.S. Coast Guard Alaska. The two were listed in fair condition, according to an update.

A fishing vessel reported the crash of an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter from Sitka on Read Island around 11 p.m. Monday, the Coast Guard said. The helicopter was responding to an initial call for help from the same fishing vessel because it was taking on water, the Coast Guard said.

It wasn't immediately clear what caused the crash or what specifically the helicopter was doing when it crashed.

Winds were reported to be 28 to 34 mph and seas were about 4 to 5 feet during the beginning of the rescue, the Coast Guard said. Visibility was about 1/4 of a mile when a second Coast Guard rescue helicopter responded to the area after the crash, they said.

Alaska Wildlife Troopers and Petersburg Fire and Rescue also responded to the crash scene and provided immediate medical care, the Coast Guard said.

All four people onboard were transported early Tuesday to Seattle for treatment.

Four people had also been aboard the fishing vessel when they called for help around 8 p.m. Monday because the boat was flooding, the Coast Guard said. Two Coast Guard cutters responded to the vessel after the helicopter crash to render aid. The crew on one of the ships oversaw the de-watering of the fishing vessel and escorted it back to Petersburg, where the second crew then boarded and found no violations, the Coast Guard said.

The Coast Guard said an investigation was ongoing Wednesday into the cause of the helicopter crash.