Four fishermen were rescued by a Coast Guard aircrew early Wednesday morning after a Mayday call signaled the boat was sinking, Coast Guard officials confirmed.

At 4 a.m., the F/V Rebecca Mary, a 75-foot stern trawler was fishing about 40 miles south of Martha’s Vineyard when the boat began taking on water, according to Petty Officer Briana Carter.

Coast Guard Sector Southeast New England dispatched a HH-60 helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod for a search and rescue mission. The aircrew was able to locate the vessel promptly using the boat’s emergency positioning indicating radio beacon, the Coast Guard said.

“It basically took the search out of search and rescue,” Petty Officer Carter said, speaking to the Gazette by phone.

Upon arrival the boat had capsized, she said. A picture provided by the Coast Guard reveals the bottom of the vessel’s bow as the only part breaching the surface. Petty Officer Carter said the fishermen had a life raft and were found in the water wearing survival suits.

According to, the boat hails from Point Judith, R.I., and often docks in New Bedford.

Coast Guard station Menemsha and station Brant Point were dispatched, but the Cape Cod aircrew had already safely evacuated all four fishermen prior to their arrival on scene.

“The four fishermen were taken back to Air Station Cape Cod, where EMS was waiting,” Petty Officer Carter said. “They were able to get out there very fast and take care of it.”

She said there were no significant injuries and all were safely returned to shore. The scene was cleared at about 5:30 a.m.

Petty Officer Carter said the boat was not recovered and sank in about 200 feet of water. She said the Coast Guard has not yet determined a cause and the incident is under investigation, she said.