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Mishaps & rescues - Mid-Atlantic February

Recent responses from the Mid-Atlantic region

PARTNERSHIP IN PHILADELPHIA — A Coast Guard rescue boat crew and a Philadelphia Marine Police safe boat crew conduct a tactical turn during training in the Delaware River near Philadelphia. The two agencies work closely with each other on training, search-and-rescue and port security for the Port of Philadelphia.

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Rescue off North Carolina coast
Rescue Coordination Center Norfolk, Portsmouth, Va.
A Coast Guard helicopter rescue crew airlifted two people from a disabled sailboat 113 miles southeast of Cape Lookout, N.C.
TowBoatU.S. notified Coast Guard Rescue Coordination Center Norfolk watchstanders in Portsmouth, Va., that Wind Song II, a 52-foot sailboat, was in distress with four people aboard, according to the Coast Guard.
An HC-130J Hercules aircrew from Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City, N.C., was deployed. The aircrew was able to establish communications with the crew of the disabled vessel, who reported that their boat had suffered a mast and rudder casualty. A MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter rescue crew from Air Station Elizabeth City was dispatched to the scene as well. The helicopter rescue crew hoisted two people from the vessel and transported them back to Elizabeth City where they were met by the owner of the sailboat. The two remaining people on the disabled sailboat denied Coast Guard assistance, according to the Coast Guard.
The Coast Guard cutter Cochito, an 87-foot Coastal Patrol Boat home-ported in Norfolk, Va., arrived and took the disabled boat in tow. The Cochito took the boat back to Fort Macon, N.C., where it was met by commercial salvage. The weather conditions at the time were 15-foot seas and wind gusts reaching 40 mph, according to the Coast Guard. (Nov. 12)

Search suspended for missing fisherman
Cape May, N.J.
The Coast Guard suspended its search for three fishermen whose 44-foot fishing vessel sank 20 miles east of Cape May, N.J.
The Coast Guard received an EPIRB transmission from the fishing boat Sea Tractor. A rescue helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Atlantic City, N.J., arrived and found an empty life raft with a strobe light attached. A good Samaritan, fishing vessel Capt. Jeff, arrived to assist and found a debris field with the Sea Tractor’s EPIRB and a cooler.
Coast Guard search efforts were coordinated by crewmembers at Coast Guard Sector Delaware Bay in Philadelphia. Rescue helicopter crews from Coast Guard Air Station Atlantic City, N.J., a C-130 aircrew from Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City, N.C., and a rescue helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod, Mass., all responded to the scene. Crews from Coast Guard cutter Block Island, a 110-foot Island Class patrol boat home-ported in Atlantic Beach, N.C., and Coast Guard cutter Mako, a 87-foot patrol boat home-ported in Cape May, also assisted in the search, but had to return to home port because of deteriorating weather conditions.
The weather conditions had been reported as 15- to 20-foot seas, 40- to 60-knot winds with some higher gusts and visibility as low as a half mile. Coast Guard crews searched for about 19 hours and received assistance from the crew of the fishing boat Capt. Jeff who discovered the debris field. (Nov. 13)

Man assisted near Hatteras, N.C.
Station Hatteras, N.C.
A Coast Guard Station Hatteras crew rescued a man as waves were breaking over the bow and stern of his 21-foot skiff near Kings Channel Marker 6, a couple miles north of Frisco.
Dare County 911 called Sector North Carolina watchstanders and reported that the man’s boat was flooding. The watchstanders launched a 25-foot rescue boat crew from the station who arrived quickly to the anchored boat.
By the time the boat crew arrived, the man had already lost some of his safety equipment due to the severe weather and his cell phone was no longer working properly. They were able to tow the boat to safety at Avon Seafood about five miles away. (Nov. 20)

Good samaritan finds overturned skiff
Sector North Carolina
The Coast Guard suspended its search for a missing fisherman from Pelletier Creek near Morehead City, N.C.
Sector North Carolina watchstanders received a report that a man had departed from Pelletier Creek on a 17-foot Carolina Skiff. According to the man’s son, he left for a fishing trip without informing anyone.
Watchstanders issued an Urgent Marine Information Broadcast to notify other boaters in the area and launched two Station Fort Macon rescue boat crews. The 24- and 25-foot rescue boat crews searched Pelletier Creek, Adams Creek, Cape Lookout Bight and outside of Cape Lookout Bight. The watchstanders found that he made a cell phone call during the trip, which was within 14 nautical miles of the phone tower the call went through in Beaufort, according to the Coast Guard.
An Air Station Elizabeth City MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew arrived and searched inside the cell phone tower range area, Cape Lookout, oceanside of Shackleford Banks, Bogue Sound and Newport River. A Station Fort Macon 47-foot rescue boat crew was also involved in the search as well as the Cape Lookout park rangers, according to the Coast Guard.
A good Samaritan located an overturned skiff with a green bottom on the beach of Shackleford Banks. The helicopter crew found that it was empty, according to the Coast Guard. (Nov. 13)

Five rescued from sinking sailboat
Sector North Carolina
Coast Guard crews rescued five people from their sinking 47-foot sailboat about 32 miles south of Cape Lookout, N.C.
The sailboat crew called Sector North Carolina watchstanders to report their boat was taking on water. The watchstanders launched an MH-60T Jayhawk helicopter crew from Air Station Elizabeth City and a 47-foot rescue boat crew from Station Fort Macon.
By the time the helicopter arrived, the sailboat was mostly full of water and only a foot or two remained above water. They were able to hoist one person, but the others requested not to be hoisted. The other four were directed to launch their life raft and wait for the rescue boat crew. The rescue boat crew arrived and transported the others safely back to the station. (Nov. 22)

Two rescued from disabled sailboat
Cape Lookout, N.C.
The Coast Guard rescued two people aboard a disabled sailboat 100 nautical miles off Cape Lookout, N.C.
Rescue Coordination Center Norfolk watchstanders received a distress signal from the sailboat Croc, which was transiting from Norfolk to Marsh Harbor, Bahamas, according to the Coast Guard.
An Air Station Elizabeth City, N.C., HC-130J Hercules aircraft crew launched and located the distressed vessel. The owner of the vessel stated they were taking on water and requested assistance.
An MH-60T Jayhawk helicopter rescue crew from the air station arrived and hoisted one person to safety, but because of deteriorating weather conditions they were not able to hoist the other. Another helicopter rescue crew deployed to the scene in attempt to rescue the remaining person. (Dec. 3)

Unresponsive boaters found in water
Sector Hampton Roads, Va.
A Coast Guard response boat crew from Station Little Creek in Virginia Beach recovered two unresponsive people from the water about two miles north of the fourth island of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel.
A boater in the area notified Coast Guard Sector Hampton Roads watchstanders that he saw an unresponsive person in the water. Coast Guard Station Little Creek launched a response boat crew to investigate. Virginia Marine Resources Commission also dispatched a boat, according to the Coast Guard.
The response boat crew from Station Little Creek recovered the person in the water and found another person in the water about 300 yards away. The boat crew found both people unresponsive with no vital signs. Both people were brought back to Station Little Creek, where they were transferred to emergency medical personnel, according to the Coast Guard.
A response boat from Station Cape Charles, an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter from Air Station Elizabeth City, N.C., a VMRC boat and a VMRC airplane searched the area for a boat or debris. Local authorities notified the next of kin and VMRC is investigating the cause of the incident. (Dec. 4)

This article originally appeared in the Mid-Atlantic Home Waters Section of the February 2010 issue,