Coast Guard opens Cold Bay air station
October 20th | Carey Restino
As the winter fishing season gears up in waters off the Aleutian Islands and the Bering Sea, the U.S. Coast Guard announced this week it would be opening a seasonal air station in Cold Bay.
The station will house a MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter and a rotating aircrew from the Kodiak air station. The Kodiak station will continue to have a helicopter and aircrews available to assist with other search and rescue missions.
A Coast Guard cutter equipped with an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter from Air Station Kodiak will also be on patrol in the region throughout the season.
"Forward deploying a Jayhawk helicopter to Cold Bay sets our assets in a ready posture that provides maximum ability to efficiently respond to members of the fishing fleet, maritime communities and isolated villages that are in need of assistance," said Lt. Meg Peters, Air Station Kodiak public affairs officer and Jayhawk pilot, in a release. "Decreasing the transit time to reach the Bering Sea and the distant portions of the Aleutian Islands greatly increases the effectiveness of our response and can make the difference between life and death. A deployed helicopter to Cold Bay coupled with proper survival gear and signaling devices by personnel in distress can make a grave impact in the outcome of a perilous situation."
Since August, Kodiak-based aircrews have conducted six search and rescue cases either in the Aleutian chain or from a vessel in which the patient was taken to Cold Bay in order to be transferred to commercial medical services.
Similar seasonal stations were set up during the summer in Cordova and Kotzebue in an effort to reduce response times to mariners in need.