Coast Guard rescues 4 from capsized vessel offshore Grand Isle

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NEW ORLEANS — A Coast Guard aircrew rescued four people from a capsized vessel approximately 200 yards offshore Grand Isle, Sunday morning.

Watchstanders at the 8th Coast Guard District command center received a 406 MHz Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon alert from the personal craft Stray Cat located about one-half nautical mile south of Grand Isle at approximately 7 p.m. Saturday. The wife of the owner reported to the command center that her husband and three other people went fishing Saturday morning and were due back in at sunset.

The survivors reported that the vessel was headed into Caminada Pass with a quartering seas and were taking the wind off the stboard beam. The captain of the Stray Cat reported that a gust of wind hit the starboard beam and the boat capsized.

A Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew arrived on scene shortly after midnight and located the capsized vessel with the four survivors sitting on one of the vessel’s pontoons. The aircrew lowered their rescue swimmer and hoisted one of the four people aboard. During the hoist, the helicopter experienced a hoist malfunction; however, the crew was able to manually override the hoist and finish the rescue evolution. The aircrew dropped the survivor off on the beach.  The remaining three then reportedly jumped off the pontoon into waist-deep water and waded ashore.

All four people reported no injuries or medical concerns.

“There was no way anyone would know if they were out there without the EPIRB, due to the heavy seas,” said Lt. Matthew Hardgrove, Air Station New Orleans pilot. “We found them within two minutes; the strobe on the EPIRB enhanced our ability to spot their vessel in the white-capped seas.”

The Coast Guard recommends mariners register their EPIRB at www.beaconregistration.noaa.gov. In addition to a registered EPIRB, all mariners should always wear their life jackets and have a signaling device on board their vessel at all times.

For more information on EPIRBs and other signaling devices, click here.

The Coast Guard also encourages mariners to file a float plan with family or a friend. Before you go out, leave information about your trip with a family member or friend who is staying on shore. Include all information that would help rescuers in case of emergency; how many people aboard, where you are going, how long you will be out and a description of your boat. Like a life jacket, a float plan is a life-saving device on paper, which can make the difference in rescue and response time in the event of an emergency.

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