US carrier rescues eight Iranian sailors

US carrier rescues eight Iranian sailors

Two helicopters from the nuclear-powered carrier USS Harry Truman carried out the rescue operation on high seas, after an F/A-18 jet assigned to the carrier squadron spotted a vessel on fire, according to a statement issued by the Bahrain-based US 5th Fleet Command.

The vessel in distress was sighted late Wednesday about 80 km from the aircraft carrier.
Two SH-60 helicopters "were dispatched to render assistance" and reached the stricken vessel within about 45 minutes, the Navy said. A search and rescue swimmer dove into the waters near the burning boat and discovered eight people in a raft.

"The first helicopter recovered four mariners and transported them back to Truman. A short time later, the remaining four mariners were recovered by the second helicopter. The mariners told the aircrew that all of their personnel on the vessel were accounted for."

According to the US Navy, basic humanitarian and medical care were extended to the rescued sailors after they landed on the carrier.

"The assessment by Truman's medical staff revealed that the eight were in excellent shape with no significant injuries. The medical department provided them with food, water and a fresh change of clothing," the statement said.

"It is our duty as a professional navy and as professional sailors to help those in need of assistance. We have a longstanding tradition of helping mariners in distress - providing medical assistance, engineering assistance and search and rescue," Rear Admiral Patrick Driscoll, commander of Carrier Strike Group 10, said in the statement.

"There was no hesitation on the part of our aircrew and rescue swimmer to help out our fellow seafarers."

According to the US Navy, the eight mariners will remain on the carrier, which is conducting missions in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, until arrangements can be made for their safe return home.

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