Amazing Grace: U.S. Coast Guard Saves Puppy Who Survived Shipwreck and Frigid Temperatures
This story has everything: a shipwreck, a daring rescue, a puppy, and even a happy ending.
It starts in the early hours of last Monday, when the fishing vessel Laura struck some rocks near Sitkalidak Island off the coast of Alaska. With the vessel critically damaged, the crew was able to abandon ship and make it safely into a lifeboat before the ship capsized around 7 a.m., according to KMXT, a radio station in Kodiak. One important member of the crew was missing, however: Grace, the vessel's 8-month-old pit bull and black Lab mix. The crew in the lifeboat was quickly picked up by a U.S. Coast Guard UH-60 helicopter but, after searching a 5-mile radius of the wreck site, Grace was still missing and presumed lost.
Those fortunes changed roughly 36 hours later when the Coast Guard returned to the wreck site to check the Laura for evidence of any spilled fuel. It was then they spied Grace, huddled up on a rocky beach near the wreck.
"So the dog was directly in front of the boat, off to the side a little bit on … a narrow beach with about 20- to 40-foot cliffs all around her. And I was able to find a way—we ended up landing—I was able to find a way to sort of scramble down that cliff to grab her," U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer Rafael Aguero told KMXT.
Aguero said Grace was wet, cold, and hypothermic but otherwise unharmed. He and his teammates were able to pick the 80-pound pupper off the rocks and carry her back to the helicopter, where she was transported to safety and hopefully a nice warm blanket.
"To go through those conditions and spend 36 hours alone in the wilderness like that on the beach with the cold and she was otherwise OK—from what I can tell. But it's absolutely incredible that we found that dog," Aguero said.
While the Laura remains wrecked on the rocks—and environmental groups monitor a 5 mile-long spill from her fuel tanks—Grace was able to be returned to her crew Tuesday afternoon. So while cleanup and repairs are still to come, at least the sailors of the Laura can rest a little easier knowing they've got the goodest member of their crew back, safe and sound.