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Coast Guard response report

Swept off boat

Station Chincoteague, Va.

A Coast Guard station responded to a mayday call after a man was swept from his boat by a series of waves. The boater said he was taking on water and his friend was in the water near Chincoteague Inlet. Station Chincoteague launched a 23-foot rescue boat. Upon arriving, the operator of the 19-foot rescue boat had the flooding under control. The man who fell overboard was found lying on the beach, exhausted from swimming. The boat operator had thrown his friend a life jacket when he fell overboard; the life jacket was found on the beach several yards from where he was lying. The operator beached his boat and helped a Coast Guard boat crewmember get his friend from the beach back onto his boat, and was later transferred to the Coast Guard rescue boat. The rescue boat quickly transported the exhausted victim to a marina and transferred him to Chincoteague EMS. He was taken to Peninsula Regional Hospital in Salisbury, Md., for evaluation and was released. The two Chincoteague residents had been fishing when a series of large waves swamped their boat, knocking one boater overboard. The crew of Station Chincoteague credits the boaters’ marine radio on the 19-foot boat with the success of this rescue. The Coast Guard received the distress call and was able to get a rescue boat on scene very quickly. (Dec. 9)

EPIRB helps sailors in distress

Air Facility Charleston, S.C.

A Coast Guard helicopter rescue crew from Air Facility Charleston saved a father and son 50 miles offshore of Charleston. The 56-year-old father and his 24-year-old son were sailing when they activated their Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon after becoming disabled due to high seas and forecasted gale-force winds. The helicopter crew used the EPIRB signal to pinpoint the men’s position, and hoisted the father and son on board the helicopter with the help of the flight crew’s rescue swimmer. Both men were returned to Air Facility Charleston without any injuries. The Coast Guard reminds boaters to have the proper emergency equipment on board their boat in case of distress. The use an EPIRB helped the Coast Guard pinpoint the distressed boat’s location and reduced their response time. (Dec. 19)

Four rescued offshore

Air Facility Charleston, S.C.

A Coast Guard helicopter rescue crew from Air Facility Charleston saved four people from a disabled sailboat 40 miles offshore of Charleston. The 29-year-old captain of the sailboat contacted the Coast Guard and requested assistance after experiencing engine problems in heavy seas and gale force winds. The helicopter crew used night vision goggles to locate the sailboat. A helicopter rescue swimmer was lowered to the sailboat and assisted in the rescue of everyone on board. All four crewmembers were rescued and safely returned to Air Facility Charleston with no injuries. (Dec. 20)

Sailboat taking on water

Air Station Cherry Point, N.C.

Two people were rescued by a Marine Corps air rescue helicopter based at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, after it was dispatched by the Coast Guard to assist in the rescue of people from a sinking sailboat 10 miles southeast of Cape Lookout. The Coast Guard received a mayday radio call from a sailboat that was in distress and taking on water. The Coast Guard immediately launched a 47-foot motor lifeboat from Station Fort Macon and called the Marine Corps Air Station to check the availability of the helicopter. The helicopter arrived first and hoisted the survivors aboard. The Fort Macon motor lifeboat plucked the survivors’ pets and personal effects from the water. The helicopter took the survivors to Station Fort Macon where they were met by emergency medical services from Atlantic Beach. The Coast Guard credits the survivors with having the right equipment on board to help with their own survival and rescue. (Dec. 13)

Marines help one of their own

Air Station Barbers Point, Va.

The Coast Guard and Marine Corps rescued a man whose boat capsized about a half-mile from Cape Lookout Lighthouse. Coast Guard Group Fort Macon search-and-rescue controllers received a mayday call by VHF radio from a 22-year-old man when his 19-foot fishing boat was hit by a series of powerful waves. He had just enough time to make the call before his boat capsized, and did not have the chance to give his position, he later said. Coast Guard operators were able to construct a line-of-bearing search, and a 41-foot rescue boat from Air Station Barbers Point noticed a fire the stranded man had set on the beach at Shackleford Banks. The rescue boat was unable to approach the beach, and a Marine Corps helicopter was launched to recover the man. He was hoisted safely and taken to Group Fort Macon. He reported no injuries. The rescued man is a Marine stationed at Cherry Point. (Dec. 21)