- Associated Press - Friday, March 11, 2016

HONOLULU (AP) - A Navy helicopter rescued three fishermen who abandoned their ship in rough seas about 160 miles southwest of the Big Island Friday.

The crew was in 15-to-18 foot seas with winds around 35 mph when the captain noticed water on the deck was not properly draining, Coast Guard Lt. Kevin Edes said. He checked the engine room and found the boat was quickly filling with sea water.

The crew was ordered onto a life raft with life jackets and an emergency beacon, which sent their location to the Coast Guard Thursday evening, Edes said. A Coast Guard helicopter crew found the fishermen in the life raft after the fishermen fired off flares. Poor visibility and weather prevented the helicopter from getting a radio to the men.

A Navy helicopter stationed on Oahu was able to help with the rescue and brought the men back to shore.

The fishing boat sank within three minutes of the men getting into their life raft, Edes said.

The fishermen were treated for mild hypothermia and hospitalized as a precaution, according to the Coast Guard.

The Coast Guard also briefly diverted the cutter Alex Haley, which was en route back to its base in Kodiak, Alaska, to assist.

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