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The rescue effort occurred on Dec. 15, when U.S. Navy patrol craft USS Sirocco (PC 6) observed mariners in distress and immediately rendered assistance while conducting a counter-narcotics patrol. Sailors from Sirocco safely rescued five mariners injured in the explosion.
The injured mariners, who identified themselves as Iranian citizens, were later transported to Puller. Two patients were flown by helicopter to Oman for medical treatment, and the other three mariners were later transported to Oman for eventual repatriation.
“The entire crew, both military and civilian mariners, stepped up to perform incredibly that day,” said Capt. Richard G. Burgess, Puller’s commanding officer. “Our team did not waver for a moment, and acted with professionalism and compassion to save lives.”
Prior to the explosion, international maritime forces suspected the vessel of transporting illicit drugs and later recovered illicit drugs, estimated worth a total of $14.7 million, from the wreckage. Sirocco was operating as part of Combined Task Force (CTF) 150, one of three task forces under Combined Maritime Forces, the world’s largest naval partnership.
As Sirocco rescued the mariners from the wreckage, Puller's crew readied the deck to triage the injured mariners. Once received, Puller’s medical personnel worked urgently to stabilize the patients and arrange for rapid air transportation to advanced care.
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