Coast Guard Responses Mid Atlantic May 2007

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Recent responses from South Carolina and other states

Recent responses from South Carolina and other states

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)

Ship pilot missing

Sector Field Office Atlantic City, N.J.

Coast Guard crews have ended their search for a missing federal ship pilot who entered the water about two miles off the coast of Cape Henlopen, at the mouth of the Delaware Bay. The 52-year-old man was a pilot with the Chesapeake Federal Pilots Association. Search and rescue coordinators at Coast Guard Sector Field Office Atlantic City were notified that the pilot fell into the water while attempting to board a 645-foot freighter bound for Baltimore. It was reported that he was transferring from the pilot vessel to the freighter when he fell from the freight ship’s ladder and into the water, reportedly 39 degrees F. The Coast Guard directed the launch of search crews aboard an HH-65C Dolphin rescue helicopter from Air Station Atlantic City, a 47-foot rescue boat and a 41-foot rescue boat from Station Cape May, N.J., and a 41-foot rescue boat from Station Indian River, Del. Coast Guard Cutter Dependable, under way on a separate mission, was diverted to search the area. At first light, the Coast Guard directed the launch of another Air Station Atlantic City crew for what would be a third helicopter sortie. An Air Station Elizabeth City, N.C., HC-130 Hercules long-range aircraft was also directed to launch. Following the early-morning helicopter search, the crews aboard the HC-130 Hercules aircraft and the Cutter Dependable searched until midafternoon. In all, Coast Guard crews conducted 13 search sorties over a period of more than 14 hours in their search for the missing pilot. It was reported that he was wearing a personal flotation device when he entered the water. Witnesses to the accident reportedly threw three life rings into the water. Weather at the time of accident was reported as 20-25 knot winds, 6-foot seas and clear visibility. The cause of the accident was under investigation by Coast Guard Sector Delaware Bay in Philadelphia. (Feb. 5)