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Coast Guard Responses

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)

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)

Four in life raft

Rescue Coordination Center Bermuda

The Coast Guard found four people in a life raft about 60 miles southeast of Bermuda. The Coast Guard Rescue Coordination Center in Portsmouth received a signal from an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon from a Canadian 43-foot sailboat. Rescue Coordination Center Bermuda took the lead for the search and rescue mission, but RCC Portsmouth diverted a Coast Guard rescue C-130 from Air Station Clearwater, Fla., to assist in the search efforts throughout the day. Meanwhile, RCC Bermuda called on a 900-foot merchant vessel to assist in the search. The rescue plane arrived and found a debris field in the area where the EPIRB signal originated from. After searching about two hours, the plane found four people in a life raft. The merchant vessel recovered the four people, but their condition was unknown. Weather conditions in the area were extreme with 40 knot winds and 18-foot seas. (Feb. 2)

Disabled and adrift

Air Station Clearwater, Fla.

A Coast Guard helicopter crew from Air Station Clearwater, Fla., hoisted two people off of their sailboat after they became disabled near Hudson Beach and called the Coast Guard for help. The Coast Guard received a distress call on a cell phone from the 27-foot sailboat. They said they had become disabled and adrift. An HH-60J Jayhawk helicopter from Air Station Clearwater was dispatched to provide assistance. The 52- and 48-year-olds on board departed in the afternoon to go sailing. During the sail the boat lost its rudder. The couple set their anchor, but due to the strong 25 mph winds the sailboat drifted closer to shore and finally ran aground about

2-1/2 miles offshore of Hudson Beach, Fla. The Coast Guard rescue helicopter arrived and found the sailboat aground in about 3 feet of water and listing significantly. A Coast Guard rescue swimmer was lowered to the stranded boat, assisting the couple off the sailboat to a position about 50 yards away. The pair was hoisted into the helicopter and brought to Clearwater. No injuries were reported. The boaters were wearing personal flotation devices, and had flares and an Electronic Position Indicating Radio Beacon on board. (Feb. 4)

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)

Vessel overturns

Station Yaquina Bay, Ore.

The Coast Guard responded to an emergency call reporting a boat in distress near the opening to Alsea Bay, Ore., 10 miles south of Newport, Ore. A 16-foot boat was reported in distress to emergency dispatchers by a passer-by. The Coast Guard launched two HH-65 Dolphin helicopters, one from Coast Guard Air Facility Newport and one from Coast Guard Group/Air Station North Bend, Ore. Two 47-foot motor lifeboats from Coast Guard Station Yaquina Bay, Ore., were also launched to help. One of the rescue helicopters spotted the swamped boat and reported its position to the Coast Guard Group/Air Station North Bend communications center, which issued an Urgent Marine Information Broadcast detailing the situation. A good Samaritan who was nearby responded to the UMIB and sighted one person in the water, about three miles southwest of the entrance to Alsea Bay. The good Samaritan was able to bring the survivor safely onboard within five minutes of the issuance of the UMIB. The rescue helicopter then hoisted the hypothermic survivor off of the good Samaritan’s boat and flew to the Newport airport, where emergency medical technicians were standing by. The survivor was taken to Pacific Community Hospital in Newport. Soon after the first person was located, the same good Samaritan located another person in the water. This person was found unconscious and was transferred to one of the motor lifeboats. A crewmember aboard the lifeboat provided CPR while in transit to awaiting emergency medical technicians at Coast Guard Station Yaquina Bay. The second person was reported deceased upon arrival at Pacific Community Hospital. There are also unconfirmed reports of a third person from the boat in the water, and the Coast Guard continues to search for any other survivors. The Coast Guard suspended its search for the missing boater who was not recovered. The Coast Guard searched a 192-square-mile area in the vicinity of Alsea Bay using two HH-65 Dolphin helicopters and a two 47-foot motor lifeboats.(Feb. 10)

Kayaker rescued

Air Facility Newport, Ore.

The Coast Guard rescued a Merlin, Ore., man from the waters near the south side of Yaquina Head, Ore., after his kayak overturned. An HH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Facility Newport spotted an empty kayak about 600 yards off Agate Beach, Ore. The helicopter crew flew over the kayak and spotted a 19-year-old man in need of assistance. The helicopter lowered a rescue swimmer and scooped the man from the water. The man was flown to the Newport Airport where he was treated by emergency medical technicians for hypothermia then released. The water temperature at the time of the rescue was 50 degrees. (Feb. 13)

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)