Coast Guard Auxiliary crew rescues research vessel passengers

Coast Guard District 1 NewsNorwalk, Conn. – A Coast Guard Auxiliary crew rescued nine children and one adult from the 40-foot research vessel Oceanic, which had run aground in Norwalk Harbor Sunday.

“The rescue went as well as could be expected in light of the unexpected grounding,” said Coast Guard Auxiliarist Richard Aarons, the person in charge of vessel Otter. “My crew performed flawlessly, I cannot say enough for their professionalism. I told them what we needed to do, and they just did it.”

The Coast Guard Auxiliary worked closely with local law enforcement and a Good Samaritan crew, who was the first to arrive on scene and help the crew aboard the Oceanic.

“A private vessel was first to respond to the scene and was a great help. The Darien and Norwalk Marine Police vessels were also on scene within minutes and worked with us.”

The coordination between vessels and agencies made this effort successful. A total of fifteen children and two adults were safely removed from the boat, then transferred to the Norwalk Maritime Aquarium dock.

“I want to especially thank my crew members, Coast Guard Auxiliarists Ric Klinger and John Stefura for doing exactly what they have been so well trained to do,” said Aarons. “I am very proud of them, their training and abilities. Calming the children down and getting them to smile and laugh took the edge off. Klinger was especially animated and the kids loved the way he softy, yet assuredly spoke to them. Getting the head count right was of prime importance, Klinger got them to give him names, addresses and contact information without upsetting them,” said Aarons.

Coast Guard Auxiliary members teach boating safety classes, and conduct vessel safety checks. Others become maritime domain awareness inspectors and conduct the vitally important outreach mission of educating and informing the boating and maritime community about programs such as America’s Waterway Watch. Others choose to become boat crewmembers.

The Coast Guard Auxiliary has something to interest almost everyone. Membership is open to U.S. citizens 17 years or older who can pass a favorable background check.

The Coast Guard Auxiliary assists with nearly all Coast Guard missions. The Auxiliary was established in 1939 by Act of Congress as the U.S. Coast Guard Reserve and was renamed the Auxiliary in 1941.

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