At 11:23 a.m., watchstanders at Coast Guard Joint Response Coordination Center Honolulu received an emergency position indicating radio beacon alert. Watchstanders called the registered owner who confirmed the vessel reportedly left early that morning to fish, but neither party was able to make contact with the ship.
An HC-130 Hercules aircrew from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point launched at 3 p.m. once the alert was confirmed and a search pattern was established. At 5:15 p.m., the aircrew sighted a flare and life raft. The aircrew reported they located the Princess Hawaii mostly submerged with only the stern above the waterline.
The aircrew dropped a VHF radio to the people on the life raft and confirmed all of the crew were accounted for and reportedly in good condition. They then established communication with the crew of the Commander to vector them in to recover the survivors.
The aircrew remained on scene until the Commander crew arrived to rescue the survivors.
The Princess Hawaii reportedly had a captain, six crewmembers and an observer from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration aboard and was fishing within 20 miles of its sister ship, the Commander.