COAST GUARD RESPONSES

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Crane crushes boats

Atlantic City, N.J.

A crane collapsed causing damage to two boats and spilling diesel fuel into the water in Brigantine, N.J. The crane spilled approximately 50 to 100 gallons of diesel fuel into the St. George Thoroughfare after landing on two pleasure boats that were moored at the dock. A 25-foot Century center console sustained the most damage by the crane while the other boat incurred minor damage. The owner of the crane company was working with Coast Guard Marine Safety Office in Philadelphia, Pa., SeaTow and Northstar Marine to clean the spill and salvage the boats. SeaTow placed a containment boom around the spill that stretched roughly 40 yards across by 100 yards long. The cause of the crane’s collapse was under investigation. (Nov. 4)

Crew, cat airlifted

Air Station Cape Cod, Mass.

Coast Guard rescue crews airlifted two people and a cat off a sailboat that ran aground six miles east of the Merrimack River. A 69-year-old man, owner of the 33-foot sailboat, first radioed the Coast Guard reporting the sailboat was aground with himself, his wife, and their cat aboard. Station Gloucester sent a 25-foot rescue boat and a 47-foot rescue boat to assist. Neither boat was able to approach the stranded sailboat due to the shallow water. About an hour later, the owner reported the boat was taking on water. The Coast Guard dispatched a rescue helicopter from Air Station Cape Cod and airlifted both people. The couple and their cat were taken to Station Gloucester, where they were examined by local EMS and released. They are arranging for commercial salvage of the sailboat. The seas were three to five feet and the wind was blowing at 10 miles per hour. (Nov. 12)

Dream boat takes on water

Station Rockland, Maine

Combined efforts from Coast Guard Cutter Dependable, home-ported in Cape May, N.J., a Falcon Jet from Air Station Cape Cod and a 47-foot small boat from Station Rockland, Maine, responded to Raw Faith, a 100-foot Spanish-style vessel catering to disabled people, after the vessel became disabled 80 miles north-northeast of Portland, Maine. The Captain of Raw Faith called the Coast Guard Thanksgiving morning after the rudder became disabled and the vessel began taking on water. The Coast Guard lost communication with the vessel about two hours later and launched a Falcon jet from Air Station Cape Cod. The Falcon jet was able to locate and drop a radio to the vessel. Coast Guard Cutter Dependable reached the disabled vessel and put them in tow, en route to Station Rockland. Station Rockland had launched a 47-foot small boat to assist in dewatering the vessel. The crew of Raw Faith was transferred onto the small boat. EMS were standing by at the station awaiting the crew. (Nov. 26)

2 clinging to cooler

Air Station Atlantic City, N.J.

Two men were plucked from the water by a rescue helicopter after 90 minutes in 53-degree waters of Breakwater Harbor near Cape Henelopen, Del. Coast Guard Station Indian River Inlet in Delaware received a 911 cell phone call for help from the two men on their sinking 18-foot pleasure boat. The station immediately launched a rescue boat while the flight crew of Air Station Atlantic City prepared to assist. An Urgent Marine Information Broadcast (UMIB) was also relayed on VHF Channel 16 to alert other boaters to be on the lookout for the two. Once on scene, the Coast Guard searched the waters of the Delaware Bay with help from the Lewes Fire Department, Delaware Pilots and a state police helicopter. Shortly thereafter, a good Samaritan reported seeing two people clinging to a cooler. The Coast Guard helicopter and rescue boat immediately diverted to the reported area where they found the two survivors. The rescue swimmer on board the Coast Guard helicopter free-fell into the water to assist the two men into a rescue basket. The two men were transported to Beebe Medical Center. The Station Indian River rescue boat was able to flip the boat right-side up and tow it to the station. (Nov. 12)

Sailboat crew incapacitated

Air Station Clearwater, Fla.

The Coast Guard rescued three men from their struggling 38-foot sailboat after all three had become incapacitated and unable to reach shore. Coast Guard Station Panama City received a distress call from the sailboat stating that two of the three men on board were hypothermic and the third unconscious. A 41-foot rescue boat from Station Panama City and an HH-60 Jayhawk helicopter from Air Station Clearwater were dispatched to provide assistance. Having been caught in the storm front that passed through the area the day before, the boaters were battling 10-foot seas and 30-knot winds. The crew of the HH-60 helicopter arrived on scene and lowered a Coast Guard rescue swimmer into the 10-foot seas. He swam over to the sailboat and climbed on board to stabilize the three men. Upon arriving on scene, the rescue swimmer found all three men conscious and in stable condition, but suffering from exposure to the elements. The men were wearing rain gear and life jackets. Once stabilized, the three men, ages 47, 50, and 54, were hoisted to the helicopter and brought to Panama City Hospital where they transferred to an ambulance in stable condition. (Nov. 25)