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Mishaps & Rescues – Mid Atlantic

Recent responses from New Jersey to North Carolina

African Partnership - Coast Guard Ensign Kristins Stefaniuk, a landing signal officer aboard the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Legare, instructs tie-down team members that they are clear to move away from the HH-60 Jayhawk during underway training exercises in the Atlantic Ocean. The Legare home-ported in Portsmouth, Va., and its crew are deploying to several countries off the west and central coast of Africa in support of the African Partnership Station, under the direction of Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Africa-Europe, Sixth Fleet.

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Rescue from cargo freighter

Portsmouth, Va.

A Coast Guard rescue helicopter crew medevaced a 50-year-old crewmember from a cargo freighter 40 miles off the coast of Currituck County near the border of North Carolina and Virginia.

The crew of the 725-foot cargo freighter Cape May contacted Sector North Carolina watchstanders, requesting medical assistance for the crewmember suffering from chest pains and numbness in his right arm. A Coast Guard flight surgeon determined that the patient needed immediate medical attention and the helicopter crew was deployed.

The MH-60J Jayhawk helicopter crew from Air Station Elizabeth City, N.C., hoisted the man aboard and transferred him to Sentara Leigh Hospital in Norfolk, Va. (May 29)

Clinging to a 19-footer

Portsmouth, Va.

The Coast Guard rescued three adults from a sinking boat about two miles from the third island of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, just before dark.

A 911 dispatcher contacted Station Cape Charles watchstanders, stating they received a call from a crewmember aboard a sinking 19-foot boat. A 25-foot rescue boat crew from the station launched to search for the boat.

A rescue helicopter crew from Air Station Elizabeth City, N.C., and boat crews from the Virginia Marine Police and the Virginia Beach Fire Department also searched for the boat.

“When we got to the third island of the bridge tunnel, the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel police were searching from the island and there were several recreational boats in the water,” says petty officer first class John Soderstrom, the rescue boat coxswain. “We didn’t see anything around the island, so we were about to start a search pattern with the last 10 minutes of light that we had remaining.”

Then, petty officer third class Aron Flavin saw something about two miles from the island. With binoculars, they saw a man waving at them from the bow of a partially submerged boat and two other adults clinging to it in the water. The station crew pulled them out of the water and transported them to Lynnhaven Marina in Virginia Beach.

All three crewmembers had life vests. (May 30)

Chesapeake Bay medevac


A Coast Guard crew medevaced a 51-year-old man, who was reportedly suffering a stroke, from a vessel in Chesapeake Bay.

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Baltimore received a call from a crewmember aboard the M/V McFarland, a 345-foot Army Corp of Engineers dredge boat, reporting that a man was suffering from what appeared to be a stroke. A 41-foot rescue boatcrew from Coast Guard Station Annapolis, Md., and an Anne Arundel County fire boat crew both deployed to the scene. The Coast Guard rescue crew located the vessel two miles north of Poplar Island, and transported the man to a pier in Shady Side, Md., where he was met by local EMS and taken to the Anne Arundel County Medical Center in Annapolis.

Five stranded in Potomac


The Coast Guard rescued five people that were stranded on a disabled vessel near St. George Island, Md., in the Potomac River.

Coast Guard Sector Baltimore watchstanders were notified by the owner/operator of a 20-foot recreational boat, over marine-band radio, reporting that he and four others were stranded on a disabled vessel.

A 25-foot response boat crew from Coast Guard Station St. Inigoes, Md., arrived and towed the boat and crew to a marina on St. George Island.

There were no reports of injuries. (May 31)

Coast Guard assists sinking boat

Gloucester, Va.

The Coast Guard assisted five people aboard a sinking boat near York Spit in Gloucester.

The Gloucester Sheriff’s Department contacted Coast Guard watchstanders at Station Milford Haven, stating they had a report of a vessel taking on water and in need of assistance in the York River near York Spit.

A rescue boat crew aboard a 25-foot boat from the station arrived and towed the vessel to Gloucester Point Pier. All five people were wearing their life vests when the crew arrived. (June 2)

Man jumps from whale-watching boat

Cape May, N.J.

The Coast Guard and New Jersey State Police were searching for a man who jumped overboard from an 85-foot boat off the coast of Cape May, N.J., near Cape May Point.

The Coast Guard received a call at 10:17 a.m. from a crewmember aboard the Spirit of Cape May, a dolphin- and whale-watching boat, reporting a passenger jumped overboard and was not wearing a life jacket.

A rescue boat crew from Coast Guard Station Cape May, a rescue helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Atlantic City, the crew of the Coast Guard cutter Mako and members of the New Jersey State Police were searching for the man. (June 11)

Disoriented in fog off Brigantine, N.J.

Brigantine, N.J.

The Coast Guard rescued two people aboard a 22-foot boat who were disoriented because of fog off the coast of Brigantine, N.J.

The Coast Guard received a call at 4:47 p.m. from a member of the Ocean Country Sheriff Department reporting two lost mariners at anchor with a cell phone battery close to dead.

The Coast Guard located their position by advising the boaters to key their VHF radio several times because they were unable to use the radio to communicate verbally.

A rescue boat crew from Coast Guard Station Atlantic City, N.J., arrived and escorted the boat and its crew into Atlantic City Inlet. (June 11)

Broken keel near New Topsail Inlet

Topsail Beach, N.C.

Good Samaritans rescued two people from a sinking sailboat in the vicinity of New Topsail Inlet.

At 4:50 a.m., a crewmember aboard a 25-foot sailboat made a mayday call on VHF radio and reported they had broken off the keel after running aground on a sandbar and were taking on water.

Sector North Carolina Command Center watchstanders immediately issued an urgent marine information broadcast. The good Samaritans heard the UMIB and recovered both people from the sailboat in distress.

Station Wrightsville Beach launched a 47-foot rescue boat to the scene, picked up the two people and returned to Wrightsville Beach. The sailboat sank about 300 yards off the beach, just north of New Topsail Inlet.

The owner will be arranging for commercial salvage of the sailing vessel. (June 13)

This article originally appeared in the Mid-Atlantic Home Waters Section of the September 2009 issue.