Recent responses from Florida and the South
Recent responses from Florida and the South
Duplicate distress calls
Air Station Miami, Fla.
A Coast Guard HH-65 helicopter aircrew from Air Station Miami rescued four South Florida boaters after their boat capsized 11 miles southeast of Elliott Key, Fla. The four boaters, ages 22 to 49, used cell phones to call several family members for help after their 25-foot boat capsized, but never
called the Coast Guard or 911 directly. The Coast Guard received several conflicting reports of boaters in distress during the same time. Station Islamorada, Fla., received the first call through a 911 relay of an overturned boat with four people near Boca Chita Lighthouse, which is about nine miles from Convoy Point, Fla.Miami-Dade Fire Rescue units reported to Coast Guard Sector Miami search and rescue coordinators that an uncle reported five people were on top of a 25-foot overturned boat. Three minutes later another report of five people on a boat was reported but no location was given. The uncle of another passenger called the Coast Guard and reported a 23-foot boat capsized with six to seven people in the water near Turkey Point, which was 15 miles away from the rescue. The daughter of yet another boater called Coast Guard Station Miami Beach and reported four people in the water near Whistle Buoy No. 4 between Pacific Light and Carysfort Reef Light. Coast Guard units in Key West, Fla., were also involved in the search when someone reported four to five people were on a capsized boat near Mile Marker 24 in Summerland Key, Fla. Eventually the SAR coordinators were able to determine that all these calls correlated to the one case off Elliott Key. One of the boaters was finally able to talk directly to the SAR coordinators in Miami and helped guide the Coast Guard helicopter to their location. The four were hoisted safely into the helicopter and taken to Air Station Miami in Opa Locka. The four were released in good health to family members; all four passengers were wearing their life jackets. The Coast Guard reported that the faster they get information on a case through VHF radio or a direct 911 call, the faster they can get help on scene. Following the rescue of the four boaters by the helicopter crew, Coast Guard Station Key West crews rescued a 76-year-old man and his friend after a dinghy capsized close to Fleming Key in Key West. A good Samaritan heard a call for help and was able to locate one person. The Coast Guard crew arrived on scene and located the other man. Both were taken to shore where local EMS were waiting. Both men were released. (Sept. 4)
Pleasure boats collide
One person was dead and another injured after two pleasure boats collided 13 miles east of Port Canaveral. Two people were apparently ejected from one of the boats, knocking one person unconscious and causing a severe laceration to one person’s foot. After hearing the mayday call, two good Samaritans arrived at the boat’s position and pulled the person with the lacerated foot from the water. Two Coast Guard rescue boats from Station Port Canaveral arrived and pulled the second person, who was unconscious and unresponsive, from the water. The rescue crew transferred the person with the injured foot to their 47-foot rescue boat. Rescue crews began CPR on the unresponsive man and continued CPR from the accident scene to a marina in Port Canaveral. The crew arrived at the marina where EMS determined that all efforts to save the person’s life were exhausted. The injured man was transferred to local EMS and was being treated for a laceration on his foot and shock. The Brevard County Corner’s Office planned to notify the next of kin. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission was investigating the incident. (Sept. 16)
Clinging to a cooler
Patrick Air Force Base, Fla.
The Coast Guard was still searching for a 37-year-old man in the vicinity of the SteinhatcheeRiver after his 54-year-old uncle was located aboard a 19-foot boat, 44 miles southwest of the SteinhatcheeRiver. A Patrick Air Force Base C-130 search plane located the man, and a HH-60 Jayhawk rescue helicopter safely hoisted him and brought him to a hospital in Gainesville, Fla., in stable condition. The two men left the Steinhatchee Marina. Sometime later the boat’s engine failed. According to the uncle, his nephew jumped overboard and attempted to swim to shore. He was reported to have been wearing two life jackets and using a cooler top as a flotation device. A Coast Guard 27-foot response boat from Station Yankeetown, Fla., an HH-60 Jayhawk rescue helicopter from Air Station Clearwater, Fla., and the Coast Guard Cutter Marlin, homeported in Fort Myers, Fla., were continuing to search the area for Chris. (Sept. 20)
Station Charleston, S.C.
A Coast Guard boat crew rescued a man after he fell from his catamaran and was reported missing by his fellow sailor about one mile off Isle of Palms, S.C. The 56-year-old man was sailing with a friend when he fell off their catamaran. The man’s friend tried to recover him, but couldn’t maneuver the catamaran to his position. The man’s friend beached the catamaran and called 911. Dispatchers from 911 contacted Coast Guard rescue coordinators at Sector Charleston to assist in the search effort. A Coast Guard rescue boat crew from Station Charleston launched to assist in the rescue along with a Coast Guard rescue aircrew from Air Facility Charleston. Rescue units from the Isle of Palms Fire Department, Charleston County Sheriff’s Office and South Carolina Department of natural resources also assisted in the search. The Coast Guard rescue boat crew spotted the man about a mile off the most southern point of Isle of Palms. He was wearing a life jacket and was using his T-shirt as a signaling device. The rescued man was transported to Charleston Harbor Marina and was in good condition. (Sept. 7)
Float plan delivers
Sector Charleston, S.C.
The Coast Guard and the Beaufort Marine Rescue Squadron from Port Royal, S.C., rescued an overdue fisherman on the Broad River between Paris Island, S.C., and Hilton Head, S.C. The 58-year-old man had left from ArchersCreek on ParisIsland for a day of fishing. The retired Marine reportedly makes the same fishing trip just about every day after returning home at around 5 p.m. His wife became worried when her husband didn’t return in the evening. She contacted the Military Police at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Paris Island. She also knew what kind of boat her husband had, when he departed, when he was supposed to return and what general area he was going to be fishing. The float plan allowed rescuers to quickly develop a good search area and expedite a rescue. The MPs called the Coast Guard and the Beaufort MRS to assist in the search for the missing fisherman. Coast Guard rescue coordinators from Sector Charleston launched a rescue helicopter crew from Air Facility Charleston to assist in the search. Beaufort MRS launched three boats to help. The Coast Guard helicopter crew located the man with his overturned vessel. The aircrew directed a rescue boat from Beaufort MRS to his position. The Beaufort MRS boat crew pulled the man to safety and transported him back to ArchersCreek. He did not suffer any injuries. He was also wearing a life jacket. (Sept. 8)
Three aboard disabled boat
Station Wrightsville Beach, N.C.
Three mariners aboard a 53-foot sailboat are safe after their boat became disabled in 10-foot seas and 25-knot winds, 34 miles south of Cape Fear, N.C. Coast Guard watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Charleston were notified by TowBoatU.S., a commercial salvage company. The crew of the 53-foot sailboat requested assistance after they suffered an engine casualty and began drifting off the South Carolina coast. Coast Guard rescue crews from Station Georgetown, S.C., and StationOakIsland launched 41-foot utility boats to assist the sailboat’s crew but were forced to turn back after watchstanders at RescueCoordinationCenter in Portsmouth, Va., determined that the heavy winds and seas would put the rescue crews and their boats at risk. It was determined that the distance to the vessel combined with the unsafe weather conditions on scene were outside of the safe operating limits of the 41-foot utility boats and would put both the rescue crews and their boats at risk. Rescue crews aboard a 47-foot motor lifeboat from Station Wrightsville Beach, N.C., and an HH-65 helicopter from Air Station Charleston, S.C., were then dispatched to assist the sailboat’s crew. After a four-hour transit, in 10- to 12-foot seas and 30-knot winds, StationWrightsvilleBeach’s rescue crew arrived on scene and took the sailboat in tow. The 47-foot motor life boat crew safely towed the sailboat to a marina in Southport, N.C. (Sept. 12)