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Mishaps & Rescues – New England

Recent responses from around the nation

TANKER RESCUE — Two Italian yachtsmen were recently rescued in the Southern Ocean by the German-operated tanker Hellespont Trooper. The pair’s 34-foot yacht, Onitron, was dismasted April 8 about 3,500 miles west of the Southern tip of South America. Despite strong winds and a heavy swell, the vessel’s crew used a life raft to transfer the two men from the yacht to the tanker.

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The Hellespont Trooper was en route from New Zealand to Rivadavia, Argentina, but planned to divert to a Chilean port to drop off the pair.

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Coast Guard rescues Coast Guard

Station Seattle

Six Coast Guard members were safe after a small boat from Coast Guard Cutter Polar Sea fell into the water at Point Wilson near Port Townsend, Wash. The crew of Polar Sea was lowering the boat into the water as part of a training exercise when it fell. Two people were knocked into the water, while four others managed to climb back on the cutter using the vessel’s Jacob’s ladder. The two members who were knocked into the water were quickly recovered by a small boat crew from Coast Guard Cutter Midgett, which was also operating in the area. Coast Guard medical personnel aboard Polar Sea determined the crewmembers involved sustained no significant injuries. The Coast Guard planned to investigate the accident. The 399-foot icebreaker Polar Sea was commissioned in 1978. In addition to performing the traditional missions of the Coast Guard, the cutter serves as a platform for scientific missions to the North and South Poles. (March 9)

Coast Guard suspends search

Station Eastport, Maine

The Coast Guard suspended its search for one of two people aboard a 34-foot fishing boat that went down in Cobscook Bay near Eastport. Rescue crews started searching for the 19-year-old man after the crew of another fishing boat said they observed a debris field in Johnson Harbor that contained a survival suit and what appeared to be a submerged boat. The body of one of the two men was recovered by the Maine Marine Patrol about two miles west of Eastport. Coast Guard and Maine Marine Patrol crews logged 1,488 miles during the search for the man. Thirty-seven degree seas and 4 knots of tidal currents created difficult obstacles, according to the Coast Guard. This was the 92nd search-and-rescue case this year for Coast Guard Sector Northern New England. (March 27)

73-year-old clinging to PFD

Station Coos Bay, Ore.

The Coast Guard rescued a 73-year-old man near Coos Bay, Ore., when a Coast Guard watchstander spotted him in the water. He was clinging to two lifejackets, about 20 yards off the north jetty, drifting out to sea. Group/Air Station North Bend was immediately notified and launched a rescue helicopter crew and a motor lifeboat crew to the scene. He was rescued by the motor lifeboat crew and transferred to a waiting ambulance at Station Coos Bay. He was conscious, but unresponsive and unable to communicate. The rescue helicopter crew remained to search for additional survivors, while a second Coast Guard rescue boat crew located a small overturned boat. Station Coos Bay located the man’s spouse in the marina and determined that he was alone on the boat and there were no other persons in the water. (Feb. 24)

Three adrift for more than 20 hours

Hagatna, Guam

The crew of Coast Guard Cutter Assateague rescued three men from an 18-foot boat that had been disabled and adrift for more than 20 hours. The three men set out from Hagatna aboard the boat and became disabled on a transit from Hagatna Boat Basin to Rota. The boat was 22 nautical miles northwest of Ritidian Point and drifting to the west. Operating in seas that were reported to be larger than 10 feet and in 22-knot winds, Assateague’s crew launched a small boat to rescue the three men. Assateague arrived during the night and located the disabled vessel, but waited until daylight to begin the rescue. Three hours later, the men were safely aboard the 110-foot patrol boat. Assateague was due back to Apra Harbor later that day. (March 7)

This article originally appeared in the New England Home Waters Section of the June 2009 issue.