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Coast Guard response report

Father and son rescued

Station Pascagoula, Miss.

Coast Guard rescue crews saved two stranded boaters on Round Island, south of Pascagoula, Miss. Station Pascagoula received a call six hours earlier from a woman reporting that her husband and son had not returned as scheduled from a boating trip the night before. A Coast Guard rescue crew from Station Pascagoula, operating a 23-foot boat, launched at first light to search for the two missing boaters. An HU-25 Falcon jet crew from Coast Guard Aviation Training Center Mobile, Ala., diverted from their original flight to assist in the search and spotted the boat just north of Round Island. The vessel was aground and partially submerged. After making additional overflights of the island, the search crew noticed a signal fire in the trees and two people waving an orange life jacket in the air. The Falcon search crew relayed the location information to the rescue boat crewmembers, who maneuvered close enough to the island to pick up the men and transport them to Station Pascagoula. The two men reportedly drifted to the island after their 14-foot aluminum skiff lost power. (Dec. 1)

Gas to light signal fire

Station Wachapreague, Va.

Coast Guard and Virginia Marine Police officers rescued two men who were stranded in the marshlands near Quinby. Coast Guard Station Wachapreague received a phone call reporting a boat had not returned to Quinby after a fishing trip that day. Station Wachapreague launched a 25-foot rescue boat to search the area where the boat operator said he would be fishing and suspected transit channels of the boat. Within 30 minutes the rescue effort was joined by a rescue boat from the Virginia Marine Police, and then a Coast Guard rescue helicopter from Elizabeth City, N.C., also launched to assist. Shortly after midnight the Virginia Marine Police rescue boat located the overdue boat and the two people aboard. They did not request medical attention and Virginia Marine Police towed the boat back to Quinby. The boat owner and operator said his engine became disabled on his way back to port. He anchored and launched numerous flares without any results. His anchor line then parted and the boat drifted into a marsh where he attempted to light fires with the gas from his fuel can. He was finally able to start a fire with the last of his fuel, which was seen by rescue units. Rescue crews were able to search in the correct areas due to the information from the reporting source. The boat owner did not have a radio or cellular phone on board to notify anyone of his situation. Having a radio on his vessel may have reduced the amount of time he had to wait before being rescued. The Coast Guard credits the float plan, the alert reporting source, and the resourcefulness of the boat operator in the success of this case. (Dec. 16)