coast guard photo of tuna vessel rescue boat

Eleven Chinese fisherman drifted in a life raft with four of them badly burned or dying in the middle of nowhere on the Pacific Ocean after their boat burst into flames on May 2, 2014.

Heeding the signs of a smoke plume in the distance, a native of California, Capt. Gregory Virissimo, was able to race to the rescue, haul the men onto his vessel and coordinate with the U.S. Coast Guard and Air Force to fly in doctors and medical supplies.

Five US doctors were dropped by parachutes into the ocean from an Air Force C-130 transport plane on the second morning after the explosion, which was the only hope of saving those critically wounded because the location was so far from shore.

Capt. Virissimo was awarded a medal this week for his actions by the the US Coast Guard.

(WATCH the video from KGTV,  and READ more about the amazing rescue from San Diego Union-Tribune)

Story tip from Pablo Schneider

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