TANKER RESCUE —
Two Italian yachtsmen were recently rescued in the Southern Ocean by the German-operated tanker Hellespont Trooper. The pair’s 34-foot yacht, Onitron, was dismasted April 8 about 3,500 miles west of the Southern tip of South America. Despite strong winds and a heavy swell, the vessel’s crew used a life raft to transfer the two men from the yacht to the tanker. The Hellespont Trooper was en route from New Zealand to Rivadavia, Argentina, but planned to divert to a Chilean port to drop off the pair.
Coast Guard rescues Coast Guard
Six Coast Guard members were safe after a small boat from Coast Guard Cutter Polar Sea fell into the water at Point Wilson near Port Townsend, Wash. The crew of Polar Sea was lowering the boat into the water as part of a training exercise when it fell.
Two people were knocked into the water, while four others managed to climb back on the cutter using the vessel’s Jacob’s ladder. The two members who were knocked into the water were quickly recovered by a small boat crew from Coast Guard Cutter Midgett, which was also operating in the area. Coast Guard medical personnel aboard Polar Sea determined the crewmembers involved sustained no significant injuries.
The Coast Guard planned to investigate the accident. The 399-foot icebreaker Polar Sea was commissioned in 1978. In addition to performing the traditional missions of the Coast Guard, the cutter serves as a platform for scientific missions to the North and South Poles. (March 9)
Rescued from flooding in North Dakota
Judith Lizakowski, of Manvel, N.D., is transported from her flooded property to safety by Kelly McLean, deputy from the Grand Forks County Sheriff’s Department, Edward Rodriguez (top) and Rich Papasso, from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in early April. A Coast Guard rescue team also transported Lizakowski’s two dogs to safety.
Red River flooding
Petty Officer Third Class Christopher Wheeler transports six people and two dogs to a safe rescue platform after the Red River flooded the Fargo area. Wheeler, a Coast Guard rescue swimmer, was lowered from the helicopter and later assisted the four adults, one child, one infant and two small dogs as they were hoisted to safety by a rescue helicopter and crew from Air Station Traverse City, Mich.
Coast Guard suspends search
Station Eastport, Maine
The Coast Guard suspended its search for one of two people aboard a 34-foot fishing boat that went down in Cobscook Bay near Eastport. Rescue crews started searching for the 19-year-old man after the crew of another fishing boat said they observed a debris field in Johnson Harbor that contained a survival suit and what appeared to be a submerged boat. The body of one of the two men was recovered by the Maine Marine Patrol about two miles west of Eastport. Coast Guard and Maine Marine Patrol crews logged 1,488 miles during the search for the man. Thirty-seven degree seas and 4 knots of tidal currents created difficult obstacles, according to the Coast Guard. This was the 92nd search-and-rescue case this year for Coast Guard Sector Northern New England. (March 27)
73-year-old clinging to PFD
Station Coos Bay, Ore.
The Coast Guard rescued a 73-year-old man near Coos Bay, Ore., when a Coast Guard watchstander spotted him in the water. He was clinging to two lifejackets, about 20 yards off the north jetty, drifting out to sea. Group/Air Station North Bend was immediately notified and launched a rescue helicopter crew and a motor lifeboat crew to the scene. He was rescued by the motor lifeboat crew and transferred to a waiting ambulance at Station Coos Bay. He was conscious, but unresponsive and unable to communicate. The rescue helicopter crew remained to search for additional survivors, while a second Coast Guard rescue boat crew located a small overturned boat. Station Coos Bay located the man’s spouse in the marina and determined that he was alone on the boat and there were no other persons in the water. (Feb. 24)
Fishermen rescued on Knight Island
Air Station Kodiak, Alaska
The Coast Guard located and safely hoisted two fishermen from an island 60 miles south of Anchorage after winter weather forced them to take refuge ashore. The two men were fishing when they beached their 20-foot boat on Knight Island. The fishermen were reported overdue to the Coast Guard by their employer. A MH-60 Jayhawk rescue helicopter from Air Station Kodiak located the men. They were safely hoisted and flown to Kodiak. No injuries were reported. The men built a fire while awaiting rescue and had food and water. (March 22)
Two rescued in Pocomoke River
Station Crisfield, Md.
The Coast Guard rescued two people after they reportedly ran aground near William’s Point in the Pocomoke River. One of the men called Coast Guard Sector Baltimore watchstanders by cell phone from a 31-foot pleasure boat, reporting he had run aground and was taking on water. The men were able to control the amount of water entering the boat by using rags to plug the hole. A 41-foot utility boat crew from Coast Guard Station Crisfield arrived and towed the boat and men back to Station Crisfield. (Feb. 24)
Four men saved from capsized boat
Air Station Sitka, Alaska
The Coast Guard launched a MH-60 Jayhawk rescue helicopter crew after being notified by Sitka Mountain Rescue of a 16-foot capsized boat with four men aboard in Silver Bay, which is southeast of Sitka. The Air Station Sitka Jayhawk rescue helicopter crew arrived, safely rescued the men and transported them to Sitka with no reported injuries. The Jayhawk rescue helicopter crew arrived in Sitka where emergency medical services were waiting. The cause of the capsize was unknown. (March 23)
This article originally appeared in the Connecticut and New York Home Waters Section of the June 2009 issue.