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Coast Guard Responses

Offshore sinking

Station Gloucester, Mass.

A Coast Guard helicopter crew rescued three fishermen after their boat sank 45 miles east of Gloucester, Mass. Coast Guard Falcon jet crew heard a mayday call from the 38-foot fishing boat, reporting the boat was sinking and all three people on board were getting into a life raft. A Coast Guard helicopter flying in the Gloucester area headed toward the sinking boat’s position and rescued all three people on the life raft. The helicopter crew took the fishermen to Coast Guard Station Gloucester, where they were met by local EMS. They refused treatment and were released. Two of the three fishermen were wearing survival suits. They also had an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon, which went off and confirmed the distress and position for the Coast Guard. (Feb. 9)

Iced in

Station Chincoteague, Va.

A Coast Guard crew rescued a duck hunter whose boat was stuck in the ice in Chincoteague Bay. After receiving a cell phone call from the man, a Coast Guard Station Chincoteague crew launched their 23-foot rescue boat to an area about three miles southeast of Snow Hill Public Landing. The hunter’s 15-foot boat had become stuck in ice, and he had tied it to a day marker. The crew arrived at the scene and broke the ice so the hunter could follow them to Greenbackville Harbor. He left his boat there and rode back to the station in a Coast Guard truck. Initial communications with the man over the cell phone were broken, making it difficult to determine his position more quickly. The Coast Guard recommends that all boaters carry a VHF radio. (Jan. 22)

Man overboard

Air Facility Charleston, S.C.

Coast Guard search and rescue crews from Charleston, S.C., and Clearwater, Fla., were searching for a man who reportedly fell overboard from a 31-foot commercial fishing boat 50 miles off the coast of Charleston. Crewmembers on the boat notified the Coast Guard by VHF radio that a 51-year-old crewmember had fallen overboard. An HH-65 Dolphin helicopter was first on scene, while the Coast Guard Cutter Yellowfin and a 47-foot motor lifeboat arrived shortly afterward. An HC-130 Hercules aircraft from Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater was launched and joined the search early in the morning. The fishing boat was home-ported in Jacksonville but currently operates out of Georgetown, S.C. Coast Guard rescue crews have searched a combined area of more than 1,100 square nautical miles. The Coast Guard suspended its search for the fisherman after continuously searching for more than 34 hours. An HH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Air Station Savannah, Ga., operating out of Air Facility Charleston, an HC-130 crew from Air Station Clearwater, Fla., a 47-foot motor lifeboat crew from Station Charleston and the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Yellowfin home-ported in Charleston all conducted the search. (Feb. 15)

Cold water, pounding surf

Station Coos Bay, Ore.

The Coast Guard rescued a 19-year-old woman from the waters near Cape Arago State Park, Ore. Coast Guard Station Coos Bay, Ore., received a phone call of a young woman in need of help, struggling in the 48-degree water and 8-foot surf. Coast Guard Group/Air Station North Bend, Ore., launched an HH-65 Dolphin helicopter and Station Coos Bay launched a 47-foot motor lifeboat to assist the woman. Charleston Fire Department was also notified and was the first to arrive. Rescuers reported to Coast Guard units that they had lost visual contact of the woman, but could still hear her. Using night vision goggles, the crew of the helicopter was able to spot the woman, who had been pulled out by the current more than 600 yards from the shore.The helicopter lowered down a rescue swimmer who then secured her, and they were both hoisted back into the helicopter. She was flown back to Group/Air Station North Bend and transferred to awaiting emergency medical technicians who took her to the Bay Area Hospital in Coos Bay for further treatment. (Jan. 31)