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Coast Guard response report – Mid-Atlantic

Fishing trip turns fatal

Station Portsmouth, Va.

The Coast Guard suspended its search for three overdue boaters on the James River. The Coast Guard recovered the body of a 53-year-old man, one mile south of the James RiverBridge. A 14-year-old boy and an 8-year-old boy have not been located. The boaters were fishing aboard a 23-foot blue and white fishing boat. The search began after the Coast Guard was notified that the boaters were overdue. Coast Guard Cutter Seahorse, a 41-foot search and rescue boat from Station Portsmouth, a HH-60 Jayhawk Helicopter from Air Station Elizabeth City, N.C., an Army dive team from FortEustis, and members from the Virginia Maritime Resource Police and the Virginia Maritime Resource Commission were involved in the search. The overdue boaters’ vehicle and boat trailer were found at the landing they departed from by the Surry County Sherriff’s Office. (Jan. 15)


Irish rowers rescued

RescueCoordinationCenter (RCC) Norfolk, Va.

Two Irishmen were rescued from a life raft after their 23-foot rowboat capsized about 1,400 miles southeast of Bermuda. CoastGuardRescueCoordinationCenter (RCC) Norfolk, located in Portsmouth, coordinated the rescue of the 28-year-old and 34-year-old men, both of Ireland. The rescue began after RCC Norfolk received an Emergency Position Indicator Radio Beacon. The EPIRB was registered to the rowboat, known as the Digicel Atlantic Challenge crew, participating in the 2005 Atlantic Rowing Race, a trans-Atlantic rowboat race from La Gomera in the Canary Islands to Antigua in the Caribbean. Upon receiving the EPIRB alert, RCC Norfolk launched an airplane from Puerto Rico and diverted a nearby AMVER ship, a 918-foot Spanish-flagged tanker, to assist. The tanker located the capsized rowboat and life raft about four hours later, and the men were hoisted aboard shortly after. They were reported to be in good condition and rode with the tanker to its next port of call in Cartagena, Spain. The Digicel Atlantic Challenge crew departed La Gomera Nov. 30. (Jan. 8)


Tug crewman falls overboard

Air Facility Charleston, S.C.

The Coast Guard suspended its search for the last missing crewman of a 135-foot tugboat, towing a 500-foot barge loaded with about 140,000 barrels of petroleum by-product 37 miles off the coast of Cape Fear, N.C. The tug radioed the Coast Guard for help because they had a crewmember fall overboard, and their tug was taking on water. A Dolphin HH-65 helicopter from Air Facility Charleston launched to assist, and upon arriving on-scene, they rescued one crewmember and transported him to Myrtle Beach Hospital, S.C. The remaining eight crewmembers stayed with the struggling tug until a 125-foot tugboat in the area arrived. The good Samaritan was able to rescue five more crewmembers before the tug sank in the 15-to 20-foot seas and gale-force winds. The Coast Guard and good Samaritan boats were searching for the three remaining crewmembers and the 500-foot barge. Coast Guard crews searched more than 1,700 square nautical miles over a period of 16 hours. The following crews took part in the search: a Charleston, S.C.,-based helicopter; the CGC Tarpon, an 87-foot patrol boat home ported in Charleston; an Elizabeth City, N.C.,-based helicopter and C-130 airplane; the 225-foot CGC Elm, home ported in Atlantic Beach, N.C.; and a 47-foot motor life boat crew from Wrightsville Beach, N.C. (Jan. 19)


Ferry taking on water

Station New York, N.Y.

Coast Guard Station New York and New York Police Department escorted a ferry to Pier 11 in Manhattan after receiving reports the ferry was taking on water near the Verrazzano-NarrowsBridge. The ferry’s master reported taking on water over its side. Winds were at 34 knots sustained with gusts to 50- plus knots and waves of 2 to 4 feet in the harbor. The master ordered the 149 passengers to put on life jackets as a personal safety precaution. No injuries were reported. (Jan. 18)


Couple abandons 30-footer

Station Tybee Island, Ga.

Two people were rescued after their pleasure boat sank about two miles east of Paris Island Spit, S.C. The 68-year-old man and his 65-year-old wife were heading south to Florida on their 30-foot pleasure boat when they apparently received severe damage to their rudder and began rapidly taking on water. The man called the Coast Guard on his VHF radio, and he and his wife put on their life jackets. Rescue coordinators at Sector Charleston launched a rescue helicopter from Air Station Savannah, Ga., and two rescue boats from Station Tybee Island, Ga., to rescue the couple from their foundering boat. The rescue helicopter located the pair and directed the rescue boats to their position. The rescue boat crews pulled off the couple and attempted to save their boat from sinking. Unfortunately, the 30-foot pleasure boat was taking on water too quickly, and rescue boat crews couldn’t safely attempt to save it. The couple was taken to a local boat ramp in Beaufort, S.C., and were reportedly both in good condition. Members of the Beaufort Marine Rescue Squadron are helping the Canadian couple coordinate the salvage of their sunken boat. The sunken pleasure boat poses no significant risk to navigation or the environment. (Jan. 13)