Coast Guard honors rescue swimmer, crew

Posted: Tuesday, June 03, 2003

KODIAK (AP) A Coast Guard rescue swimmer who helped save five commercial fishermen from the Bering Sea has been honored with a medal.

Aviation Survival Technician Jason Quinn of Ashburnham, Mass. was presented with the Distinguished Flying Cross for his actions Oct. 20 during fires on board the fishing vessel Galaxy.

Quinn was on board a helicopter that arrived from Cold Bay.

Twenty-foot seas did not allow a rescue from the 180-foot ship so survivors had to jump into the water, where Quinn assisted them and they were hoisted onto the helicopter.

Three men were picked up from off the stern, where Quinn had to swim within 10 feet of the vessel's propellers pitching in and out of the sea.

After Quinn was hoisted back onto the helicopter, the aircraft made its way to the bow, where he again entered the water and assisted two more men.

Fishing vessels rescued another 18 crew members from the Galaxy.

The boat sank in the Bering Sea about 30 miles southwest of St. Paul Island.

Quinn's entire flight crew also was honored in a ceremony Thursday.

They included Lt. Cmdr. Melissa Rivera, the pilot; Lt. Kendall Garran, the co-pilot; and aviation maintenance technician Mike Simone.

The Distinguished Flying Cross is awarded to any person serving in the Armed Forces for an act of heroism while participating in flight. Each branch of the military bestows the award.

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