COAST GUARD RESPONSES

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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 strikes buoy

Air Station Elizabeth City, N.C.

The Coast Guard assisted the crew of a sailboat after their boat struck a buoy 100 miles east of Cape Hatteras, N.C. The crew of the sailboat called the Coast Guard Rescue Coordination Center in Portsmouth, Va., after striking a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration weather buoy and taking on water. AC-130 rescue plane was launched from Air Station Elizabeth City, N.C., to drop a pump to the foundering sailboat whose pump was unable to keep up with the flooding. The crew of the sailboat was able to gain control of the flooding with the new pump. Cutter Block Island was doing a fisheries patrol in the area and diverted to the sailboat’s position. The crew of Block Island escorted the sailboat to the safety of the Chesapeake Bay. The sailboat was in a sailing race called the Carib 1500 departing from Hampton, Va., and heading for Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands. Another sailboat participating in the race stayed with the stranded boat until the cutter could get on scene to safely escort the sailboat to safety. (Nov. 12)

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, 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)

CG Aux. crew saves life

Perrin River, Va.

A Coast Guard Auxiliary crew saved the life an 18-year-old man after he was ejected from his personal watercraft at the mouth of the Perrin River, Va. The young man was found exhausted and without a life jacket in the 59-degree water by an Auxiliary crew on a routine patrol of the Perrin River. The auxiliary crew pulled the young man from the water and transported him to waiting EMS at a marina in Hayes, Va. The Coast Guard Auxiliary is the volunteer branch of the Coast Guard. Auxiliarists assist the Coast Guard in non-law enforcement programs such as public education, vessel safety checks, safety patrols, search and rescue, maritime security and environmental protection . (Oct. 27)

Stranded on a PWC

Air Station Atlantic City, N.J.

An Air Station Atlantic City helicopter airlifted three people to safety after they became stranded. Station Atlantic City received a call reporting three people on a personal watercraft stranded after their watercraft went aground in Risely Channel in the Back Bay behind Margate, N.J. A rescue boat from Station Atlantic City and a state police boat attempted to reach them, but were unsuccessful. A helicopter from Air Station Atlantic City then arrived, lifted all three and transported them back to the air station and awaiting EMS. They were taken to the FAA Technical Training Center’s fire station to warm up. All three were in good condition. (Nov. 15)

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)

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)