Coast Guard, good Samaritans rescue 5 fishermen from Southwest Pass jetty

America's Heartland Coast Guard NewsNEW ORLEANS — Five fishermen were rescued from the mouth of the Mississippi River near Southwest Pass after their vessel struck the west-side jetty, Saturday.

Watchstanders at the 8th Coast Guard District command center received a 406 MHz signal at approximately 5:30 a.m. from an electronic position indicating radio beacon on board the DE Queen, a 65-foot longline vessel, with five male crewmembers aboard. The vessel reportedly allided with the west side of the jetty and began taking on water. The men boarded a raft and beached their craft onto the jetty.

The 8th District directed the launch of a Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans MH-65C Dolphin helicopter and crew to respond and assist the crewmen. Coast Guard Sector New Orleans coordinated the response of a Southwest Pass Bar Pilot 40-foot pilot boatcrew, who arrived on scene before the helicopter at 7:15 a.m. The captain of the pilot boat, Doug Lambert, observed a flare discharged by the fishermen and responded to the scene, which correlated to the distressed vessel’s position indicated by the 406 signal. The boatcrew brought aboard the crewmen and transported them back to the pilot station. All five men were wearing life jackets and reported no injuries or medical concerns.

“Because of the EPIRB, we were able to vector-in right where they were located to the bar pilots,” said Lt. Cliff Beard, command duty officer for the 8th District. “An EPIRB provides our search-and-rescue coordinators with vital information such as phone numbers and the description and type of vessel, which allows us to effect a rescue much quicker.”

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

Mariners can contact the Commercial Vessel Safety Coordinator Program at (504) 671-2154 for informaiton on free vessel safety exams.

The Coast Guard is investigating the cause of the incident.

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