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Fishermen injured at sea medivaced to Honolulu

The U.S. Coast Guard is investigating an accident at sea on board an American Samoa based purse seiner where four fishermen were injured then flown to Honolulu for treatment, says Lt. Steven Caskey, supervisor of the Coast Guard Marine Detachment Unit in Pago Pago.

The Marshall Islands- based Marianas Variety newspaper reports that the incident occurred Monday (Sunday - American Samoa time) when the vessel Cape Ferrat was fishing at high seas in the western Pacific. The injured were flown to Hawai’i three days later.

Caskey told Samoa News yesterday that the accident occurred when the cable that holds the boom for the large finishing net at the back of the vessel broke and the boom fell on the fishermen, injuring the crewmembers.

He said the U.S. registered vessel belonged to Tri Marine International— the new cannery operator in the territory —but he didn’t have additional information regarding the nationality of the injured crew members or the types of injuries sustained by the fishermen.

“The Coast Guard is conducting an investigation in this incident,” that occurred close to the Marshall Islands, said Caskey in a brief phone interview.

The Marianas Variety quotes a U.S. Embassy official in the Marshall Islands’ capital Majuro saying that a “huge boom broke and fell on the crew members”.

According to the newspaper, Capt. John Cabral, an American, said one of the crewmembers suffered a severely broken ankle, while others suffered broken bones and other injuries that needed urgent medical attention.

The injured fishermen were Vietnamese, Tongan, Columbian and Filipino, according to the report.

Marianas Variety also reports that a special medical evacuation flight was organized with a company in Hawaii that dispatched a plane to pick up the injured crew.