Coast Guard Responses – Mid-Atlantic

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Recent responses from the Mid-Atlantic region

Recent responses from the Mid-Atlantic region

Aground in fog

Marine Corps Air Station

Cherry Point, N.C.

A joint search effort between the Coast Guard, the Marine Corps and the Dare County Sheriff’s Office resulted in a pleasure boater being rescued in the fog after his boat ran aground in Ocracoke Inlet. After being trapped aground in a fog bank for more than 10 hours the 50-year-old man was airlifted to safety by a Marine search and rescue HH-46 helicopter based out of Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point. Earlier, Coast Guard Station Hatteras Inlet received an overdue boat report for a 21-foot Carolina skiff traveling from SilverLake to Hatteras Inlet. The station quickly contacted Coast Guard Sector North Carolina’s CommandCenter to issue an Urgent Marine Information Broadcast for boaters in the area to be on the lookout for the overdue boat. An HH-60 helicopter from AirStationElizabethCity and a small boat from Station Hatteras Inlet began searching for the missing mariner. Units from Dare County Sheriff’s Patrol joined in the search, which progressed very slowly and with great difficulty due to the poor visibility caused by the fog. Even when the fog began to clear, the HH-60 had to divert to Wilmington to refuel because of heavy fog cover in ElizabethCity. In their absence, Air Station Cherry Point cleared its helicopter to assist in the search. The Marine helicopter began searching in patchy fog. During their second pass, and with fuel running low, its crew spotted the man and his boat. The Marines hoisted the man to the helicopter and transferred him to OcracokeAirport where an ambulance was standing by. He was reported in good health and sustained no injuries, thanks to the collaborative interagency search and rescue efforts of the Marine Corps, the Coast Guard and the Dare County Sheriff’s Office. (Dec. 13)

Missing after capsize

Air Station Atlantic City, N.J.

The Coast Guard suspended its search for a 64-year-old man gone missing when the boat he was on capsized about five miles off the coast of Atlantic City. A TowBoat U.S. salvage team re-righted the boat and discovered the body inside the boat’s cabin. The 25-foot pleasure boat was being towed to Somers Point, N.J. Coast Guard crews searched a total of 1,145.23 overlapping square miles. Two of the fishermen were discovered at the scene and declared dead by a medical examiner. The Coast Guard received a call from a friend of the fishermen who reported the three men had not returned from a fishing trip. The Coast Guard launched several units to begin searching for the three men. A Coast Guard rescue helicopter crew discovered the overturned 25-foot boat about fives miles off the coast of Atlantic City. (Nov. 29)

Boat adrift, liveaboard missing

Station Annapolis, Md.

The search for a man believed missing after his boat was found adrift in the Chesapeake Bay has been suspended pending further developments. The search for the 50-year-old man was suspended following a search and rescue effort that lasted 20 hours and included the Coast Guard, the Maryland Transportation Administration Police and the Maryland Natural Resource Police. Station Annapolis, Md., Coast Guard Air Station Atlantic City, N.J., and vessels from both MTA and MNRP covered over 67 square nautical miles of the Chesapeake Bay looking for any sign of the man after his 39-foot sailboat was spotted near the Chesapeake BayBridge with no one aboard. The initial indications were that the sailboat had broken free from its mooring due to the boat’s frayed mooring lines. However, the search intensified after some investigation discovered that the man lived on the sailboat and had also missed a scheduled meeting with friends earlier in the evening. MNRP towed the sailboat to their headquarters on KentIsland. (Dec. 1)

70-foot motor yacht sinks

Station Georgetown, S.C.

Three people are safe after their 70-foot motor yacht grounded and sank at the entrance of Winyah Bay, S.C. The boaters, ages 65, 75 and 59, were aboard when they radioed for help. A nearby good Samaritan rescued the three men. They were then transferred to a Coast Guard rescue boat from Station Georgetown, S.C., and treated for mild exposure. The men were transferred to Station Georgetown and reported in good condition. Coast Guard pollution responders worked with the boat’s owner to secure and salvage the vessel. Coast Guard rescue crews observed a one-mile-long-by-half-mile-wide sheen of diesel fuel at the entrance of WinyahBay. Coast Guard Sector Charleston dispatched pollution investigators from Myrtle Beach and Charleston to make further assessments. The owner of the yacht reported to Coast Guard that the boat had about 500 to 700 gallons of diesel fuel aboard when it sank. Coast Guard investigators aboard a helicopter from Air Facility Charleston observed a 0.10-by-0.10-mile sheen of fuel leading offshore of the boat. Both of the sheens were consistent with the scientific spill analysis performed by the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration at the request of the Coast Guard. NOAA’s model characterized the spilled diesel fuel as fairly light oil that tends to evaporate and disperse fairly quickly. Both waves and wind act to break up the fuel thereby minimizing the impact to environment. None of the fuel released was able to be recovered. Coast Guard response coordinators have not received any reports of affected wildlife or environmental impact, aside from the sheen. The Coast Guard expected that boaters transiting through the area might smell the spilled diesel downwind of the boat. The entrance to WinyahBay remained open, and there had been no impact to vessel traffic in the area at the time. South Carolina Department of Natural Resources assisted in the response and will be leading the investigation of the sinking. (Dec. 1)

Boaters in distress

Station Emerald Isle, N.C.; Station Little Creek, Va.; TrainingCenter Yorktown, Va.

Coast Guard crews in Hampton Roads and North Carolina assisted several boaters in distress over the weekend. Station Emerald Isle, N.C., rescued four people in the morning from a 25-foot Bayliner that ran aground in New River Inlet, N.C. Initially, a tow boat attempted to refloat the pleasure boat, but was unsuccessful. Coast Guard Sector North Carolina was notified and Station Emerald Isle launched shortly thereafter. The rescued were taken to a nearby marina. Station Little Creek, Va., rescued two people today from an 18-foot pleasure boat after it became disabled in the vicinity of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel. Crewmembers aboard a 47-foot motor lifeboat towed the disabled boat and the mariners to a marina in Norfolk, Va. A 25-foot rescue boat and a 41-foot utility boat from Coast Guard Training Center Yorktown, Va., located two boats that ran aground in Wormley Creek near the York River. The Coast Guard crews removed four people from the 35-foot sailboat after the captain requested to leave. In addition, a 45-foot pleasure boat with three people on board also ran aground. A good Samaritan in the area assisted this boat and later towed the sailboat to a nearby marina. There were no reports of injuries in any of these cases. (Dec. 2)

False alarm

AirStationElizabethCity, N.C.

The Coast Guard was searching for a 54-foot sailboat with four people aboard after the wife of one of the passengers notified the Coast Guard when they failed to report their location. The sailboat departed from WilloughbyBay in Norfolk, Va., en route to an undisclosed location in Florida. The reporting source indicates the sailboat was supposed to call the following day. The call was never made. A Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City C-130 Hercules launched to search for the sailboat. The search spanned the coast of Virginia to Jacksonville, Fla. The Coast Guard ended its search after one of the four men on board contacted his wife by cell phone to report their location and that the sailboat and its crewmembers were not in distress. (Dec. 10)