MEDITERRANEAN SEA (WAVY) – The crews of the USS Bataan and USS Elrod rescued 282 people from a sinking vessel and five other small vessels that were in distress in the Mediterranean Sea Friday.
According to a press release from the U.S. Navy, the USS Bataan and the USS Elrod responded to a report of six small vessels in distress after an Italian military marine patrol spotted them around 3 p.m. Friday.
Two MH-60S Seahawk search and rescue helicopters launched from the Bataan to investigate the report and confirmed one of the vessels was sinking. The helicopters lowered rescue swimmers to the vessels and began extricating people from the water.
Three rescue boats from the USS Elrod and USS Bataan were also deployed to assist in the rescue.
Rescue crews transferred 277 people from the six vessels to the Bataan where they were provided with food, water, medical assistance and temporary shelter. Five others were taken to Malta for immediate medical attention, according to the release.