Airmen from Davis-Monthan’s 563rd Rescue Group got a call late Friday afternoon that Chinese sailors were in desperate need of help more than a thousand miles off the coast of Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.
Reportedly, a Venezuelan fishing crew called for assistance when they found Chinese sailors adrift on a raft, some of whom were badly injured, after their vessel went down in the Pacific Ocean.
It turned out to be a joint effort with Airmen from Davis-Monthan Air Force Base and the Arizona Air National Guard in Phoenix, Ariz., who were called for in-flight refueling for the six-hour flight to the stranded sailors.
After locating the raft late Saturday, the airmen deployed life rafts, parachuted into the water, and gave life-saving aid to the stranded men. Accounts vary as to the number of Chinese onboard the raft. One report suggested there were 11 men, but then went on to give a different accounting of the number of injured, rescued, and drowned.
Rescue Airmen and the surviving Chinese sailors were airlifted Sunday afternoon to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Two of the injured men were flown to a burn treatment center in San Diego; two others did not survive their injuries.
Examiner's Note: The news release from the military on this event was one of the worst I have ever read. But thanks to the brave efforts of Arizona Airmen and the Venezuelan fishermen, there are some Chinese sailors who are alive tonight!
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