Coast Guard Responses Florida and the South = May 2007

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Recent responses from Florida and around the nation

Recent responses from Florida and around the nation

Distress call cut short

Station Miami Beach, Fla.

The Coast Guard rescued two men, ages 57 and 32, from a capsized pleasure boat a half-mile east of Bakers Haulover Marina. The men called 911 emergency operators and reported their boat was taking on water near Haulover. The cell phone apparently cut out during the conversation and that was the only information emergency operators were able to receive. Emergency operators immediately requested the Coast Guard’s assistance. With just the reported information, the Coast Guard launched rescue crews from stations Fort Lauderdale and Miami Beach, as well as an HH-65 Dolphin helicopter from Air Station Miami and began to search while the search and rescue team began triangulating the global position of the last call placed from the cell phone. The Coast Guard helicopter located two people clinging to the hull of an overturned boat on the first leg of their search pattern. The aircrew then vectored in a rescue boat from Station Miami Beach. The two uninjured men were pulled from the water and taken to Bakers Haulover Marina. The 21-foot capsized boat was taken to the 79th StreetMarina by a commercial salvage company. (Feb. 2)

Tough night at sea

Station Miami Beach, Fla.

Crewmembers from Coast Guard Station Miami Beach rescued three men and two women after their 20-foot pleasure boat capsized and they had spent nearly 15 hours in the water. The SectorMiamiCommandCenter received a call from the captain of a freighter, reporting several people were in the water about four miles off Government Cut. Crewmembers quickly arrived to find three people sitting on top of their boat and grasping onto the two other people in the water. Seas were 2 to 3 feet, water temperature was 69 degrees and only one person was reported to be wearing a personal flotation device. The five people reportedly capsized the evening before when they tried to take in their anchor and the boat took several waves over the bow near Fowey Rocks, about five miles south of Government Cut. The boaters did not file a float plan and were not reported overdue from their trip by any family members. The Coast Guard crew transported all five to Sector Miami where EMS personnel were waiting. Two people were taken to Mount SinaiHospital for treatment of hypothermia. The three remaining boaters were taken to the Miami-Dade Fire and Rescue dispatch center where they were waiting to be picked up by family members. (Feb. 18)

Missing solo sailor

Station Islamorada, Fla.

The Coast Guard was searching for a 52-year-old man who was reported overdue after he failed to return from a voyage as scheduled. According to friends, the man departed Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Saturday morning and planned to sail his 22-foot boat to Summerland Key, Fla., via the Intracoastal Waterway. His friend reported him overdue after he failed to contact her upon arrival at his destination. The sailboat is reportedly white, has no name, and no distinguishing marks. A rescue boat from Coast Guard Station Islamorada and a helicopter from Air Station Miami were searching the waters from Hawk Channel, near Marathon, Fla., to John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park in Key Largo, Fla. (Feb. 19)

Adrift without power

Air Facility Charleston, S.C.

A Coast Guard aircrew has rescued three fishermen whose boat was adrift and without power in 6- to 8-foot seas and sustained 20- to 30-knot winds, 60 miles northeast of Myrtle Beach, S.C. The three men were aboard a 43-foot fishing boat when their anchor line broke. The boat then experienced an electrical fire leaving it without power and drifting dead in the water. The crew activated their emergency position indicating radio beacon. Coast Guard rescue coordinators at the District 7 Command Center in Miami launched a helicopter from Coast Guard Air Facility Charleston, S.C., to respond to the call for help. Rescue coordinators also diverted a Coast Guard fixed wing C-130 airplane from Air Station Elizabeth City, N.C., to assist in the rescue. When the two Coast Guard air crews arrived at the fishing boat’s position, the crew told rescue crews that they did not want to abandon ship. The Coast Guard helicopter began to run low on fuel and returned to the Myrtle BeachAirport to refuel. The Coast Guard C-130 stayed with the vessel to monitor the situation. Coast Guard rescue coordinators contacted the USS Bainbridge (DDG-96) from Norfolk, Va., to assist in the rescue. The Bainbridge arrived to assist the crew of the fishing boat. By that time, weather conditions had continued to deteriorate, and a repair party from Bainbridge couldn’t safely make it to the fishing boat. Rescue coordinators received information that weather conditions at the boat’s position would continue to deteriorate and 12- to 20-foot seas with sustained 30- to 40-knot winds were expected later. The Coast Guard helicopter launched again to hoist the fishermen. Coast Guard rescue crews told the fishermen about the impending weather, and the fishermen decided to abandon ship for their own safety. The helicopter crew arrived and hoisted the three men to safety while the C-130 crew kept a watchful eye from above acting as a communications platform for all rescue assets involved. The three men were taken to the Myrtle BeachAirport and were reportedly in good condition. The fishing boat was still adrift of the coast of Myrtle Beach. The crew left their EPIRB aboard the boat so rescue coordinators could track it. (Feb. 18)

Collision with jetty

Station Charleston, S.C.

A Coast Guard boat crew rescued two people from their sinking 44-foot pleasure boat after the pair hit the south jetty of the CharlestonHarbor entrance. The man and woman were traveling from Beaufort, S.C., when his boat struck the jetty. The pleasure boat began to take on water, and the pair contacted the Coast Guard on their VHF marine radio on channel 16. Rescue coordinators at Sector Charleston launched a rescue boat from Station Charleston and a rescue helicopter from Air Facility Charleston to assist the couple. The rescue boat arrived at the pleasure boat’s position first and began to take the two off the foundering boat. Neither of the two boaters suffered any injuries. After the two were found to be in good condition, the helicopter returned to base. The two were brought back to Sector Charleston and were arranging for commercial salvage for their boat. (Feb. 19)

Circling boat

Station San Diego

Coast Guard Sector San Diego received a call from a pleasure boat requesting medical attention, but the call was broken and unreadable. The unknown boat did not give any further information. Coast Guard Station San Diego, Coast Guard Cutter Edisto and San Diego Harbor Police responded. Using directional finding capability, the Coast Guard was able to narrow down the search to an area around Point Loma, Calif. When they reached the area, a rescue crew from Station San Diego heard a faint voice come over the radio requesting assistance. The Coast Guard crew used onboard directional finding capabilities to pinpoint the location of a 40-foot pleasure boat going in circles one mile south of Point Loma. The crewmembers tried to use the load hailer to contact the vessel but with negative results. The crew decided to pull alongside the boat to attain a better picture of the situation, but during the attempts to board the pleasure boat, the vessel would turn and almost strike the Coast Guard’s rescue boat. The crew made several attempts to board the boat until, finally, they were able to get alongside the pleasure craft long enough to have two Coast Guard crewmembers jump aboard. The crewmembers immediately noticed that there were two people on board, and they had been overcome by smoke from a faulty engine. The Coast Guard crewmen secured the engine and pulled the two semi-conscious boaters to safety and into fresh air. They transported the boaters to the Harbor Police Dock where they were treated and released by paramedics. (Jan. 26)

Dive team recovers crew

Station Brant Point, Mass.

Divers from the Massachusetts State Police Underwater Recovery Unit and a private salvage company recovered one body from sunken fishing boat Lady of Grace. The body had not yet been positively identified. Three crewmembers went missing after Lady of Grace sank Jan. 26. The body of one crewmember was recovered from the fishing boat’s pilot house on Jan. 29. The State Police Dive Team conducted a thorough search of all accessible spaces. The whereabouts of the two remaining missing crewmembers is unknown. The salvage vessel hired by the owner of Lady of Grace, as well as a 41-foot state police vessel participated in the operation. A 41-foot patrol boat crew from Coast Guard Station Brant Point enforced a safety zone around the dive location. (Feb. 21)