Ceremony for Morning Dew memorial observance

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Local Coast Guardsmen and partner first responders from local agencies attended a memorial observance Monday in the vicinity of the north jetty entrance to Charleston Harbor, S.C.

The memorial was held for Michael Wayne Cornett, 49, Michael Paul Cornett, 16 years old, James Daniel Cornett, 13 years old, and Bobby Lee Hurd Jr., 14 years old, who perished in the sailing vessel Morning Dew tragedy of Dec. 29, 1997.

Personnel from the 87-foot Coast Guard Cutter Yellowfin, Coast Guard Sector Charleston and Coast Guard Station Charleston participated in the observance.

Members of Charleston County Volunteer Rescue Squad, Charleston Fire Department, North Charleston Fire Department, Isle of Palms Fire Department, Mt. Pleasant Fire Department, South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, North Charleston Police Department, Charleston Harbor Pilots and Charleston County Sherriff’s Office also participated in the observance.

The main portion of the event took place on the water near the original scene of the incident. Surviving family members tossed flower-laden wreaths into the water at the site.

It was a stormy December night when the family perished in a boating accident while entering the Charleston Harbor. Seventeen years later, the Coast Guard admits regret, but says this tragedy changed the way the Coast Guard operates.

"The loss of your family members fundamentally changed the nature of the Coast Guard response community nationwide so something like this could never happen again," Rear Admiral Jake Korn told WCSC Live 5 News.