Coast Guard, local responders work together to rescue 2 from Potomac River

A15-foot Glass Stream boat, which capsized with two boaters aboard in the Potomac River, Sunday, Dec. 20, 2015. Members of the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s department rescued the two boaters with a coordinated effort involving Coast Guard Sector Baltimore and a Maryland State Police helicopter crew. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

A 15-foot Glass Stream boat, which capsized with two boaters aboard in the Potomac River, Sunday, Dec. 20, 2015. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

BALTIMORE — Coast Guard Sector Baltimore and local responders worked together to rescue two boaters after their boat capsized in the Potomac River Sunday.

Coast Guard Sector Baltimore watchstanders received a mayday call from the men via a handheld radio they were able to grab before their boat capsized.

Watchstanders coordinated a joint response with a Maryland State Police helicopter crew and a boatcrew from the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Department.

“This coordinated effort emphasizes the value of the cooperation and partnerships with our other government agencies,” said Lt. Erin Slycord, the Sector Baltimore command center chief.

The boaters made numerous mayday calls from the handheld radio and were not able to hear Sector Baltimore’s call backs. The Maryland State Police helicopter crew got on scene and did not immediately locate the people in the water. Sector Baltimore command center personnel heard the distressed boaters acknowledge the helicopter over the radio and communicated back to the helicopter crew they were in the right area and to keep searching. The helicopter crew found the men, and the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Department boatcrew arrived on scene to rescue them.

“It is a very good thing they were already wearing their lifejackets and had a radio, otherwise we could’ve had a very different ending to this case,” said Lt. Cmdr. Sara Wallace, a Sector Baltimore command duty officer.

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