Coast Guard responses - Florida and the Gulf

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Recent responses from around the nation

Missing from boat

Air Station Clearwater, FL

The Coast Guard suspended its search for a missing crewmember from a fishing boat about 115 miles west of St. Petersburg. Coast Guard rescue crews had been searching a 468-square-mile area for the 36-year-old man with no results. A Coast Guard C-130 and HH-60 Jayhawk helicopter from Air Station Clearwater were launched and were joined in the search by a Coast Guard cutter in the vicinity.(Feb 17)

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Fish cargo seized

Station Grand Isle, La.

Crews from Coast Guard Station Grand Isle, La., responded to a call that led to the seizure of more than 10,100 pounds of fish from a fishing boat allegedly engaged in illegal fishing activities, including the use of live bait, a violation of federal fisheries regulations. Using an intelligence report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries Service Office for Law Enforcement, a Station Grand Isle crew intercepted the commercial, longline fishing boat, near Dulac, La. Upon boarding the boat, the Coast Guard found the fish, which included 9,000 pounds of yellowfin tuna, 600 pounds of swordfish, 300 pounds of wahoo and 200 pounds of escolar. In coordination with OLE special agents, the fish were seized and sold at the fair-market value of $37,162, which will be held in escrow until the case is adjudicated. The Coast Guard will conduct the investigation, and forward a report to NOAA’s general counsel for enforcement and litigation for potential issuance of civil penalties and permit sanctions. Coast Guard Station Grand Isle has been working closely with the OLE to track and interdict fishing boats in violation of federal fisheries regulations. (Jan. 27)

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Coast Guard rescues Navy pilot

Air Station Miami, Fla.

A crew from Coast Guard Air Station Miami, Fla., rescued a Navy FA-18 pilot after he was forced to eject from the aircraft five miles south of Boca Chica, Fla. The Navy pilot was hoisted into a Coast Guard HH-65 Dolphin helicopter that had been diverted from another mission in the area. The pilot was taken to LowerKeysMemorialHospital, and reported to be in good condition. The Coast Guard received the report of the downed FA-18 from the commanding officer of the Naval Air Station Key West at Boca Chica. Several assets were launched or diverted to help in the search for the pilot. Coast Guard Station Key West launched two rescue boats, and Air Station Miami launched two HH-65 helicopters. A C-130 aircraft from Air Station Clearwater, Fla. was launched, and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission also assisted in the search. (Feb. 6)

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Busy day for helicopter crew

Air Station Clearwater, Fla.

A Coast Guard Jayhawk helicopter from Air Station Clearwater was launched to assist a 43-foot boat taking on water. When the helicopter and crew arrived on scene, they were met by a 47-foot Coast Guard small boat and Sea Tow, which also responded to the boat in distress with three people aboard. Their assistance no longer required, the helicopter and crew were diverted to locate and coordinate the retrieval of a derelict boat reported by a good Samaritan. Upon their return to base, the helicopter was sent out for a medical evacuation of a 58-year-old man who suffered injuries from a fall aboard a 393-foot bulk carrier. The helicopter pilots were established in a hover over the freighter in deteriorating weather conditions. A flight mechanic lowered the rescue basket to the ship’s deck and, with the assistance of the boat crew who helped load the patient, hoisted him up to the helicopter.Although the original direction was to deliver the man to Tampa GeneralHospital for evaluation and treatment, plans changed due to poor visibility, and the aircraft returned instead to the Coast Guard base in St. Petersburg, where it was met by waiting EMS personnel who transferred the patient to a nearby trauma center. (Feb. 7)

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Fatal sailboat knockdown

AirStationPort Angeles, Wash.

A man died after he was ejected from a sailboat near Vashon Island when a wind gust pushed the boat on its side. Minutes later, the Coast Guard was notified by the KingCountyEmergencyDispatchCenter that three men and a woman were in the water after being thrown from their sailboat. Two of the men and the woman were able to climb back on board the boat. Coast Guard Station Seattle immediately diverted a 25-foot response boat to search for the missing man. An HH-65 Dolphin helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station Port Angeles was also launched to assist with the search and rescue operation. Additionally, the Tacoma Fire Department’s rescue vessel provided assistance. About an hour after the incident, a Vashon Fire Department boat transported one of the men in the sailboat to an awaiting ambulance on shore. The man survived. The third man was located in the water by the Coast Guard helicopter, and a Des Moines Fire Department rescue boat was directed to the same location. The man was recovered from the water and then transferred to the Coast Guard helicopter waiting on the beach, which transported him to the HarborviewHospital in Seattle. The third man, who was not wearing a life jacket, was pronounced dead. (Jan. 28)

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Rescued from life raft

Air Station Sitka, Alaska

A Coast Guard Air Station Sitka Jayhawk helicopter crew rescued one person from a life raft after his boat sank five miles northwest of CapeDecision. The Coast Guard received a distress call over VHF channel 16. The man stated that his 50-foot trawler was taking on water, and that he was the only person aboard. An Air Station Sitka Jayhawk helicopter crew was dispatched to the scene. Once on scene, the helicopter crew rescued the uninjured man from a life raft and transported him to Sitka. The man was wearing a cold-weather survival suit at the time of his rescue. The cause of the sinking was unknown at the time. Marine Safety Office Sitka was notified of the incident. (Jan. 31)

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Man, two dogs rescued

Sector Portland, Ore.

A man and his two dogs were safe after being stranded on Skamania Island when the man’s 12-foot boat began to take on water because of high winds and rough river conditions. Coast Guard Sector Portland, Ore., received a report from a Multnomah County River Patrol that a boat was taking on water and attempting to reach the island. A Multnomah County River Patrol boat attempted to rescue the man, but was unable to reach the island due to severe weather conditions. Coast Guard Cutter Bluebell, an inland buoy tender, was on patrol in the area and diverted to assist. Crewmembers from Bluebell reached the man on the island using the cutter’s small boat and transported him to Camas, Wash., where awaiting emergency medical technicians transferred him to a local hospital. Weather conditions were winds 35-to-45-mph, 7-foot seas and a water temperature of 40 degrees. (Feb. 4)

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Boat falls onto road

Buffalo, N.Y.

A former Coast Guard boat fell off its trailer in Buffalo while en route to Panama City, Fla. The Coast Guard turned over the 21-foot rigid hull inflatable boat to the U.S. Navy along with two outboard engines and a trailer. While leaving Buffalo, the 21-foot boat fell off its trailer and onto the roadway. No one was injured. The boat was on its way to Naval Surface Warfare Center in Panama City. The boat was transferred to the U.S. Navy as excess government property. (Feb. 7)

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Helicopter crashes in surf

Sector Humboldt Bay, Calif.

A Coast Guard HH-65B Dolphin helicopter from Coast Guard Sector Humboldt Bay suffered a mishap and crashed into the surf near Samoa Beach, due west of Eureka, Calif. The helicopter was engaged in a search and rescue mission concerning four people reported to be in the water near the entrance of Humboldt Bay. The helicopter deployed a rescue swimmer after arriving on scene to assist one of the people in the water near the beach. Shortly thereafter, all contact was lost with the helicopter. All three Coast Guard crewmembers in the helicopter evacuated the helicopter safely after landing in the surf. The fourth crewmember, the deployed rescue swimmer, waded safely to the beach with one of the persons in the water. Two of the remaining three individuals in the water came to shore on their own accord. A second HH-65B helicopter was launched from Sector Humboldt Bay and recovered the last individual. Two of the persons in the water were found dead when the Coast Guard arrived to assist them. The Coast Guard has convened a Mishap Analysis Board to investigate and determine the cause of the accident. (Feb. 11)