The gillnetter Stingray tows the Catalina Condor to protected waters near Long Island, with the intention of beaching it if the flooding can’t be controlled. With the boat’s kicker (auxiliary engine) already submerged, the Catalina Condor’s skipper can be seen bailing with a bucket. Two dewatering pumps dropped by a Coast Guard helicopter kept the boat afloat, and it was eventually towed to town. (KCAW photo/Brandon Saiz)

Six people are safe after their recreational vessel began taking on water in Sitka Sound on Tuesday evening (6-19-18).

Good Samaritan boats — including gillnetters and charter vessels — swarmed the 27-foot Catalina Condor when its skipper called in a mayday near Long Island in Sitka Sound, at about 6:15 p.m.

According to the Coast Guard, there were six people on board the stricken vessel, including children. The passengers transferred to a raft, and then to the Good Samaritan vessel Poseidon.

The gillnetter Stingray took the Catalina Condor under tow into calmer water in the lee of Long Island, and an Air Station Sitka helicopter lowered a pump to the vessel’s skipper, who had remained on board bailing with a bucket.

Retired Coast Guard chief petty officer Brandon Saiz was fishing nearby and videoed the drop.

As it turned out, one pump proved unable to keep up with the flooding on the boat. As the stern sank to within one foot of the ocean’s surface, the helicopter returned with a second pump, which successfully kept the Catalina Condor afloat.

The tow was passed to the Good Samaritan vessel Garnett for the trip back to town. Sitka’s Emergency Response Vessel arrived to provide an escort.

No injuries were reported in the incident. The weather was calm, with 1-foot seas.