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Airmen rescue shrimp boat crew

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. (AFPN) -- Airmen from the 920th Rescue Wing rescued two crewmembers of a sunken shrimping vessel Dec. 10.

Wing officials sent two HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopters at 4:15 p.m. to the scene, about 30 miles off the coast of Cape Canaveral, Fla.

The crew had been sailing toward Bermuda when their boat apparently encountered large sea swells and began taking on water. The 34-foot vessel sank, and the two crewmembers were adrift in open seas with only life preservers to keep them afloat.

The helicopter crews and pararescuemen from the Air Force Reserve Command’s 920th rescue unit located the victims and jumped into the sea to administer aid and hoist the victims into the helicopters.

The men were then flown to a commercial airport where civilian paramedics moved them to a nearby hospital.

“They were glad to see us,” said Master Sgt. Michael Ziegler, one of the four pararescuemen on the mission. “Even after performing hundreds of these missions, it’s always a great feeling to pull someone out alive.”

Airmen from the rescue unit are credited with saving 26 lives in Iraq during Operation Enduring Freedom. The primary mission of the wing is combat search and rescue, but its other missions include humanitarian search and rescue and supporting space launches from Cape Canaveral and Kennedy Space Center. (Courtesy of Air Force Special Operations Command News Service)

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